Michael Anastassiades is an intriguing fellow: a Cypriot by birth and a Londoner by choice, he studied civil engineering and industrial design in London, at the Imperial College and at the Royal College of Art respectively. Hence his meticulous approach to the design of light, but also his way of working with elementary forms such as spheres, rods and elongated rectangles.
For Anastassiades, the design of a lamp is not confined to the finished object, but extends into its surrounding space and into the chiaroscuro textures that it projects around it.
This vision also enables him to engage with history: with that of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, where in 2006 he suspended shiny chandeliers reminiscent of ancient candlesticks; or again, with the 18th century history of Norfolk House in London, where in 2010 he installed a large luminous pendulum. This relationship with architectural space also reappears in the String Lights system that Anastassiades has designed for Flos—a geometrical aerial grid which the user can personalise as desired. It is composed of a wire, attached to a wall or ceiling while twisting vertically or horizontally, and of LED sources, single or in pairs, housed in spheres or cones.
These flexes are hung with black conical or spherical pendants, fitted with LED light sources.
“Every time I take the train, I sit by the window and watch the series of perfectly parallel strings connecting the pylons, as we move at high speed. I love the way they divide the landscape and how spheres are occasionally beaded through the wires at random intervals. I also love how, in Mediterranean cultures, strings of lights are stretched between posts to mark an outdoor space for an evening party in a village square. And finally, I love how human ingenuity works around problems created by everyday things in the house (like switches and power points) that others have chosen to position where we don’t want them.”
This is how Michael Anastassiades, describes the principle that inspired the String Lights ceiling lamp: a black electric wire that sets up a relationship with the architecture of a space, precisely becoming part of the lines formed by the walls of a room. And stretched out along these lines are two different light sources: one in the shape of an isosceles triangle, the other in the form of a sphere.
A system of tensors gives volume and three-dimensionality to the form outlined by this lightweight cord that plays with space, while the two LED lamps emit a warm light.
Minimal and poetic like a pencil line drawn in the air, String Lights is an original suspension, both conceptually simple and bold at the same time. Anastassiades has always sought the primordial and original essence of forms and materials.
His designs move towards abstraction, in a search for purity that pursues an exercise of stripping away, taking objects and materials back their original dimension of bareness.
“My work springs from an idea of subtraction. Because a naked object brought back to its bare essentiality is the ultimate, definitive expression of beauty.” His is a deceptive simplicity, giving rise to objects imbued with unexpected vitality, and displaying the highest quality craftsmanship.
For years Michael has produced his work in very limited quantities as editions of quality crafted pieces and small runs.
In 2007 he set up a company to increase the availability of his objects. He traveled around the world and located small family run workshops to fabricate his pieces. The workshops were selected for their unique manufacturing skills and tradition in the use of materials.
The first collection of pieces to be introduced follow two years of meticulous preparation. It combines fine detailing with honestly expressed materials reinforcing the elegant simplicity of the designs.
All the products are hand made in unlimited editions. The glass work is free blown, the stone work is hand carved, and the metal finishes are bespoke. Each piece, stamped with the designers mark, is manufactured in accordance with the purity of his original vision.
Michael Anastassiades philosophy is to produce exceptionally designed objects of permanent value.