Francisco Gomez Paz. New frontiers in lighting technology

You presented Mesh, your innovative LED chandelier, at the latest edition of the Salone del Mobile. Why are you so keen on researching this technology?

Mesh has evolved from a research project I have been working on for several years in an attempt to "understand" and interpret LEDs. I think it sums up everything I have been doing in recent times.  LEDs are a revolutionary technology I find fascinating because it enables us to experiment new ways of using and generating light.  My intention as a designer, in fact, is to discover new possible frontiers.   

In what way does the Mesh project satisfy this requirement?

I have no interest in using a LED inside a diffuser, as though it were a light bulb. In LED systems there are numerous luminous sources, as opposed to just one.  I set out to create a lighting fixture based on the possibility to separate the light, by means of a spatial distribution of LEDs in order to optimize the light diffusion, but above all, I wanted to make each of these little lights absolutely independent.  I wanted to create a fixture that makes it possible to manage the position and quantity of light emitted, a flexible object that dialogues with its surroundings and adapts to the user's needs.

Mesh allows the user complete freedom to manage its luminance and the possibility to control each individual LED. What secret lies behind this technical marvel?

The 132 LEDs making up the chandelier are supported by a network of cables, each one of which carries a negative and positive current.  This device affords complete autonomy to each LED, which may be switched on or off independently of the others. It is also possible to control the intensity of each light source to modulate the luminance.  For instance, it is possible to have direct light by switching off the LEDs on the upper part of the chandelier and only keeping the lower ones switched on. If you wish to have ambient lighting for your room, it is sufficient to do the contrary. But the possibilities are practically infinite.  

What is the relationship between technology and aesthetics in this project?

This project has enabled me to explore the technical characteristics of LEDs through an amazing aesthetic experience.   I intentionally set out to “dematerialize” the conventional lighting fixture by using a network of cables to scatter tiny "immaterial" luminous sources in the space. An ethereal chandelier in which I have used as little material as possible to give the maximum emphasis to light.    

You have been collaborating with Luceplan for some time now.

Yes, we have now worked together on several projects. Hope was my first lighting fixture, a fortunate product that helped establish a relationship of great mutual confidence. Then, Synapse marked the start of the experimental phase with LEDs.  This modular fixture was designed to separate spaces with luminous and decorative configurations.  Nothing was an almost conceptual exercise in which I attempted to wipe out any preconceived idea of lighting aesthetics.  The latest project developed prior to Mesh was Tango, a table lamp of variable geometric shape allowing its users to adjust the direction of the beam with a simple gesture.