March 1, 2015
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YLighting Design Competition Winners

Design World Inspires Us

To mark the exclusive online retail launch of Marcel Wanders’ Can Can Pendant Light for FLOS on our site,, last Fall, we partnered with Marcel and FLOS to organize a different kind of design contest. We wanted to involve young designers from around the world and make it more inspiring than the hundreds of design contests out there.

The brief was simple. The designers were to use the signature inner-pattern of the lamp and place it in ìunexpectedî places. We thought the more our brief was liberating, the more thought-provoking ideas we would get. And we did. We were humbled and impressed with the outcome.

Hundreds of designers (or aspiring designers) from around the world submitted ideas. Marcel Wanders, together with Piero Gandini, CEO, FLOS and I selected the three top winners and five runners up.

The winning designs represent playfulness of the pattern through offbeat ideas, unconstrained design thinking and fun. When judging, we gravitated toward the unexpected in both the natural and digital world, and appreciated everyday, utilitarian objects. We were moved by the altered scale and juxtapositions with nature.

When we spoke to each of the winner, we were excited to hear what motivated them, what their design process was and how their ideas formed. Here are the winners:

First Place: Can Can Labyrinth by Gregory Van Horn in Los Angeles.

"I chose the winning design ‘Can Can Labyrinth’ as it took the pattern as surface and brought it to life by making it an experience. The design reflects the underlying craziness and playfulness of the competition and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is romantic and imaginative and is something I would love to see," said Marcel Wanders.  

Gregory Van Horn designed a meditation garden constructed of 5’-6 tall box hedges, which fill the negative space of the pattern. "Lately, I have been interested in about medieval labyrinths and have been reading a lot about how they were used for meditation," he said. Gregory designs sets for TV and film productions in LA, currently working on ABC’s Private Practice. He studied Architecture at Princeton, where he took many landscape architecture classes.

Second Place: Dalmaticancan by Jeddah Stanley in Australia.

"I am intrigued by positive and negative elements in the natural and man made world. Focus on the positive space and you may miss the detail in the negative. When viewed at a glance, nothing appears out of place, take a closer look and a beautiful pattern appears," Jeddah Stanley said of her design.
Jeddah has a Visual Merchandising and Graphic Design career both in London and Sydney. She started out interested in Fashion and Textiles and now her interests are wide and varied. Marcel, Piero and I were drawn to the idea of the unexpected. Nothing is more unexpected than the possibility that this intricate and man-made design might somehow be encountered in nature, in my opinion.

Third Place: Can Can tea bag by Alexey Vesselov in Russia.

A graduate of Academy of Art and Design, Alexey is a furniture and interior designer in St Petersburg. About his inspiration for the winning entry, Alexey says he thought about lace and objects that are fine-looking and useful at the same time. I remembered pyramidal tea bags, and wanted to invent something like this for Pattern Play Contest. At first I thought about dodecahedron or icosahedron—complicated 3D structures, but finally set my choice on cube. This form provides a better look to a pattern and it’s simpler.

What motivated his design was to find a simpler and more refined way for a common everyday activity, tea drinking in this case, an activity he enjoys daily. "I always liked to look at my tea through a transparent pot or cup. With a help of this pattern the view in the pot becomes more expressive, " said Alexey. "I believe, that the age of minimalism in art and design has gone, and now we can freely use our heritage together with modern technologies and aesthetics."

Sean Callahan is the CEO of YLighting and YLiving.  To view our previous post on the competition, please click here.

Click images to view at full-size.

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