Child Studio (Chieh Huang & Alexey Kostikov) presented a collection of sculptural lighting objects that play with the illusion of movement, exploring the perception of reality and fantasy. A series of glowing glass spheres appear to be rolling and sliding from the top of slanted geometric plinths, captured at a point of subtle balance, as if frozen in time. The precarious shapes were designed to create an assuming movement and optical illusion, building a sense of anticipation and suspense. The object’s shapes and the reflection of the light appear to change when viewed from different angles, inviting the viewer to pause and to reflect on their perception of time within the physical environment.
The collection’s title ‘In the Shadow of a Man’ refers to a quote attributed to the Italian surrealist painter Giorgio De Chirico: ‘There is much more mystery in the shadow of a man walking on a sunny day, than in all religions in the world.’
The collection was presented in an unassuming location of a historical family-run flower shop ’Ditta Angelo Radaelli’ on via Manzoni in Brera district. The origins of the flower shop date back to 1886, it has since moved to different locations around Milan with the current shop opening in 1946.
‘Whilst on a research trip in Milan, we were attracted by the charming old shopfront and walked in. The shop sits between polished fashion boutiques of Montenapoleone, but the interior seems untouched by time and passing trends. The shop is still owned and run by the same family for generations. We spoke with the owner and his son about our idea, and to our delight they agreed to host our presentation.
The collection was displayed in the flower shop and in the 19th courtyard at the back of the building. The unusual setting further expressed the otherworldly feel of the lighting collection and added to the experience.
‘It was important for us to find an authentic and interesting way to present our work in Milan, as the Design Week is dominated by big brands and sponsored events. It is getting hard for independent designers to participate and show their work so it was essential we found somewhere unique.
About Child Studio:
Child Studio was set up in London by Chieh Huang and Alexey Kostikov. The duo works on the intersection of object design, spatial projects, art direction and photography, creating cinematic and intriguing narratives and experiences.
The precarious shapes were designed to create an assuming movement and optical illusion, building a sense of anticipation and suspense.
The object’s shapes and the reflection of the light appear to change when viewed from different angles, and we hope this project will invite the viewer to pause and to reflect on their perception of time within the physical environment.
The material choice:
We were drawn to the figured pattern of Olive Ash as a material. It looks almost like marble or a bizarre digital pattern. We applied the vibrant colour stain to express the natural pattern in contrast to the geometric forms. Through this we invite the viewer to discover the unexpected character of an otherwise ordinary material.
The light fixing:
The hidden fixing of the globe and the angled surface of its base are designed to make the light appear to be rolling along the surface. They look like they could roll away at any moment, but they are firmly fixed in place.
Design, photography and video were produced by Child Studio (Alexey Kostikov and Chieh Huang)