In their 2017 catalog, Estonian lighting studio Mari Lights displays a range of innovative fixtures. Engineer Tauri Mae and jeweler-artist Mari Saarepera founded the company in 2012, combining their distinct backgrounds to create a line of contemporary lighting reminiscent of the mid-century emphasis on craftsmanship and durability. Mari Lights’ designs are sleek, simple, and modern. Mae’s academic training and experience as a fabricator have given him a thorough understanding of manufacturing techniques, while Saarepera’s work as both a blacksmith and a jeweler have taught her how to work through a creative idea from start to finish. The result of their talents is an artful, uncompromising style.
Each of the pieces in Mari Lights’ newest line of fixtures bears Saarepera’s signature craftsmanship and is simultaneously subtle and attention-grabbing. The “North Chandelier” marries an industrial cool with old-school nostalgia for an arresting effect that is not easily forgotten. The team employed century-old neon making methods alongside modern-day manufacturing processes and materials to create this unique fixture. The contrast between the chandelier’s contorted, white neon tubes and classic black frame makes for a centerpiece that both bears a touch of history and looks towards the future.
The duo’s new “Black” pendant lamp has a simpler aesthetic and strips away everything but function and necessity. On their website, the team cites a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry as reflecting the goal of this design: “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” This fixture is minimal, professional, and offers a high-end look that would fit in with nearly any décor. “Black” is made from smooth aluminum and finished head-to-toe in a fine satin paint. However, the thickness of the shade doesn’t diminish the glow of the high-intensity bulb within. The pendant lamp still casts a bright beam of light on the space beneath it.
The in-the-works “Ambiguo” collection will come in three different forms: a pendant lamp – like “Black,” a wall-mounted lamp, and a simple chandelier. Each fixture is two-sided, and each side has its own half-obscured, half-illuminated light bulb. The mirrored look of this lamp’s two sides could make for a futuristic collection of uplights and downlights inside a home. “Ambiguo” is, like many of Mari Lights’ fixtures, built for its function. The lamp arose out of a need for more light in Northern Europe, where the Mari Lights studio is located, and was designed to be able to shine in multiple directions. Mari’s biggest concerns when designing lights are functionality and style, and the Ambiguo collection is a perfect example of this union coming to fruition.
Tauri Mae is also quite fond of function, explaining: “There is no true perfection, but I think we might just be stepping on its heels by seeing that what’s on the inside is as important as what’s on the outside.” In terms of form, design, and aesthetic simplicity, Mari Lights’ latest collection seems to have brought the company a bit closer to that standard of perfection.