People + Places

Terzani on Light, Shadow and Drama in Design

There’s just something magical about the way light and shadow can be made to play across a wall or ceiling. It sparkles and surrounds you in unexpected ways. The exact pattern and breadth of the light are dependent primarily on the design of the central light source. To find out more about the phenomenon of shadowplay–and the best kind of lighting designs to maximize the effect–we chatted with a lighting designer who specializes in it, Nicolas Terzani of Terzani.

YLighting (YL): A great majority of Terzani fixtures show a great expertise toward playing with light and shadow. Has this always been a Terzani focus? What fixture started it all?

Magdalena Large Pendant Light by Bruno Rainaldi, from Terzani

Nicolas Terzani (NT): The reflections that propagate around each lamp are a strong point of all Terzani products. With time, the ability to create objects that fit the environments through the shadowplay that they create, has become part of the company’s style.

Nothing was born by chance. But attention to every detail resulted in Terzani noticing how much magic could be created by working on reflections–by observing the first installations of products like Magdalena, Orten’Zia, G.R.A, Atlantis and, finally, Mizu. Since then, Terzani began to study and create objects characterized by this peculiarity, creating Shar Pei, Argent, Doodle and our most recent design, Manta.

YL: When a fixture is conceived, is the resulting shadowplay usually an intended focus of the design, or a happy side effect?

G.R.A. Oval LED Pendant Light by Bruno Rainaldi, from Terzani

NT: Yes, at the beginning it was an unexpected surprise that made us realize how cool it was to play with shadows and refractions. Then it became part of our conceptual work.

YL: What is the purpose of shadowplay (decorative, functional or both)?

Argent N91S 12 Light Pendant Light by Dodo Arslan, from Terzani

NT: Shadowplay is an integral part of the installation itself. I would say that it has first of all an aesthetic value, creating beautiful textures on the walls. But at the same time it creates a very special type of ambient light.

YL: Tell us about the different materials that create the most dramatic play of light and shadow.

Atlantis Suspension Light – Long by Barlas Baylar, from Terzani

NT: The play of light and shadows is typical of products with chains, such as Orten’zia, Magdalena and G.R.A. Then there is the play of refraction which is not really a shadow; this is typical of crystal. Certainly crystal creates a very interesting refraction, as in the case of Mizu or the new Manta. But even metal chains can produce extremely fascinating plays, if expertly crafted.

YL: And the different shapes?

Doodle Pendant Light from Terzani

NT: When it comes to shapes, we have a preference for organic shapes that fit very much in this kind of process.

YL: In what spaces (room type, size) do such fixtures have the greatest impact and usefulness?

Mizu Pendant Light by Nicolas Terzani, from Terzani (custom configuration)

NT: Undoubtedly by inserting the installations into large spaces you can enjoy the interaction with the surrounding environment. But each collection is also made for home use, and is suitable for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms…



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