Award-winning design and its makers: the lighting system “Alphabet of Light”

In February, 39 experts from all over the world convened in Essen to assess thousands of objects for the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017 in a process spanning several days. Only designs that won over the jury with their high design quality were awarded the sought-after distinction “Red Dot”, and the best of them received the highest award “Red Dot: Best of the Best” – among them: the lighting system “Alphabet of light” by Artemide, designed by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group.

Forms of light
Signs are omnipresent in our everyday life. Just as letters are complementary to words, character systems can have either a simple or complex meaning. Alphabet of Light is a modular system of lighting components that allows signs to be written, as well as straight and curved lines to be produced. Basic geometric elements are used to form letters and graphical signs that allow both expressing messages and modulating spaces. The components of this lighting system can be combined freely and link together thanks to a hidden electromagnetic connector that remains invisible, leaving no trace of shadow or discontinuity.

Alphabet of Light generates uninterrupted and consistently homogenous light, with power carried from one module to the other end up to five meters away. A thin aluminium core contains two LED strips that emit light to the opposite sides. The calibration of the transmission values as well as the reflectiveness of the materials, combined with the geometry of the external and internal surfaces, ensure that light is evenly distributed without the light source being visible. Alphabet of Light emits pleasantly diffuse light with great efficiency thanks to the minimal absorbance of the materials. Following a strikingly new approach, the lighting system has emerged with a high sense of expressivity.

Red Dot: Best of the Best for Alphabet of Light
The Red Dot jury stated: „Alphabet of Light uses technology in such a way that it takes on a completely different meaning in line with changes in the context. This fascinating lighting system is defined as a programme that can be used for communication purposes in private and public spaces, such as in an underground station. Functionally and formally perfectly matched to one another, only a few elements are needed to generate an attention-grabbing typography as well as other three-dimensional objects.” The jury awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best for this outstanding design achievement. Red Dot spoke with Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange, Bjarke Ingels Group.

Red Dot: What was your goal when you designed Alphabet of Light?
Bjarke Ingels & Jakob Lange: Alphabet of Light aims to create a new language of light. It’s more than just a design object – it’s the development of a basic language of essential geometries that can express thought and give shape to spaces. It combines the written language of the alphabet with the spatial language of architecture to create a smart system of interchangeable pieces.

What does winning the Red Dot: Best of the Best mean to you?
It signals that we are operating at the highest tier of product design. Most known for our buildings, it’s an honour to be recognised when we’re also designing at a much smaller, everyday scale and standing side-by-side with fantastic designers.

Publication of the products and tribute to the winners
The award ceremony will take place on Monday, 3 July 2017. During the Red Dot Gala in Essen’s Aalto-Theater, the laureates of the top award, the “Red Dot: Best of the Best” will be recognised – among them Artemide, Kartell, Audi, Hansgrohe, Bora, Electrolux, LG, Canyon Bicycles, Philips, Puma, Niessing, Apple and Bose. Afterwards, the prize winners and the guests will celebrate together in the Red Dot Design Museum in the midst of the award-winning products at the Designers’ Night. From this day, all award-winning products will also be presented on Red Dot Online and in the Red Dot Design Yearbook.

» Further information on the Red Dot Award: Product Design