Michael Anastassiades: “That time when I decided to be free”

We meet the designer in his studio in London. He is ready to go to Maison&Objet in Paris, where he will be acclaimed as 2020 Designer of the year

Michael Anastassiades - Photo © Eirini Vourloumis
Michael Anastassiades - Photo © Eirini Vourloumis

We meet Michael Anastassiades in his studio in London, at 50 Rochester Place, Camden Town, in a very quiet area far away from the underground scene of Camden. Outside his studio – a former mechanical garage converted into a total white space with open roof – there are boxes with lights ready to leave for Paris. Anastassiades is the Designer of the Year 2020 at Maison&Objet, the international trade fair dedicated to lifestyle, decoration and design, host in Paris from 17th to 21st January. “This award is a honor for me, I am very exciting to return to M&O after 13 years from my debut with my own brand”.

MC7 by Michael Anastassiades – Photo © Helene Binet

Michael Anastassiades – Flos Arrangements – Photo © Flos

Mobile Chandelier Collection by Michael Anastassiades – Photo © Osma Harvilahti

Tube Chandelier by Michael Anastassiades – Photo © Hélène Binet

Known as the poet of the lighting for his balanced products between poetry and design, Michael Anastassiades was born in Cyprus and he moved to London at the age of 20 years old; he trained as a civil engineer at London’s Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, before earning a Master’s degree in industrial design at the Royal College of Art in 1993. He established his London studio in 1994 and in 2007 he launched his eponymous company of lighting and small objects. The 2007 is crucial because it is also the year when he took part for the very first time in Maison&Objet presenting his eponymous brand. Only his brand, not other brand collaborations, in order to define the identity of his lighting brand.

“At 2007 in M&O we were exhibiting in a very tiny space, no bigger than a table”, says the designer, “but it was an interesting moment for me because it was the first time that I decided to set up properly as a brand. For me it was the moment when everything changed, when I decided to take full responsibility out of the role of the designer and not depending to much to the industry and to have the full control of what I wanted to do, in order to launch my ideas without any compromises, with the freedom I wanted”. That freedom, especially when you are at the beginning of your career, is difficult to achieve “because everybody has an opinion about your work and also you have the insecurity as emerging designer to respect people’s reservation”.

Since the beginning “I wanted to have my vision in the purest form. This collection that I am showing – Mobile Chandeliers – is an ongoing collection which started even back then, the first time that I exhibited in M&O as a fair I had the first Mobile Chandeliers, just one piece. Mobile Chandeliers invented a new direction in lighting, at the time the mobile lighting did not exist and I wanted to capture the idea of movement and light, light moves naturally and I wanted to mimic the magic way that light exists in nature. I added the freedom of configuration of light in the domestic space in a very effortless and free way”. 

A new and completely revolutionary concept: “Mobile is a piece perfectly balanced, in equilibrium, open to several configuration, that since that has become the language for all families of lights that I have designed over since. I decided to focus on one family, almost like an obsession, in order to explore the infinitive possibilities and show the evolution in the language, there are certain elements constants as a standard but the forms change, from linear to curve to free and organic in the later stages”.

Michael Anastassiades now returns to M&O after 13 years from his debut, as a Designer of the year and he presents Sixteen Acts, for the very first time all 16 of his Mobile Chandeliers will be showcased together in “a choreographic setting, a darkish set, the lights will be propelled by motors, they will move in a relation each others and to the space, in a meditative experience. It will be a performance, not a simply show of products”. At M&O, Friday 17th January at 4 pm, the designer will also attend the talk Light and Space, “it is a conversation with journalists about my approach and projects, so I don’t really know about the questions”. The designer also works with the most important brands, like Flos, B&B Italia, Gtv, Cassina, but to the question about his upcoming projects, he prudently says: “I am exited because I am working on new objects and furnitures with the partners, but it is too early to confirm and talk about what we will show at Salone 2020. With my own brand we always evolve, though this year is not Euroluce”.

Michael Anastassiades
Maison&Objet Paris
17-21 January
Hall 7

MC1 by Michael Anastassiades