milan 2019: cleaf booth design

One of the best examples of lighting design at the 2019 Salone del Mobile surprisingly did not come from any of the lighting companies, but from the booth design of Italian architectural surfaces manufacturer Cleaf. Designed by Bestetti Associati, the booth used large luminous surfaces to exquisite effect, with beautifully detailed stretched-fabric walls and ceilings uniformly illuminated with a very high-quality white backlight.

This project nearly perfectly demonstrates architects’ desire to use light as a conceptual material surface. I believe it also foretells how architects, interior designers and lighting designers will ultimately resolve how to incorporate wellness lighting or circadian rhythm responsiveness into contemporary design. Any interior design that promises to replicate natural lighting will need massive amounts of lumens and surface brightness that is expansive enough to properly “dose” melanopic light into an occupant’s eyes, no matter where they are looking or positioned within a room. This project achieves such objectives with a brilliance and refined minimalism that Mies van der Rohe would certainly approve.

Unfortunately, my hurried smartphone pictures don’t do justice to the beautiful feeling of the space in person. But here are a few to give you a sense of the project: