Through their winter semester project, product design students at The Academy of Fine Art and Design (AFAD) in Bratislava, Slovakia brought some light to the darker days of winter. The semester-long project for this group of graduate and undergraduate students was a simple lighting assignment without any boundaries regarding materials or sizing. Rather than focusing on creating a utilitarian object, the course placed emphasis on the semantics of their personal pieces.
Viktoria Fedorkovicova's piece—a black and brass colored object made from laminate and wood—was inspired by Harold E. "Doc" Edgerton's iconic photo, "Bullet Through Apple." Fedorkovicova explains, "I tried to capture this moment—the shot flying through the object—in a design product. I put the light inside to improve the total effect."
Inspired by the openness of the theme, Stefan Nosko took a highly conceptual approach to the project. Entitled "Reliquary," his functioning light is made from polyester resin, graphic cards from old PCs and a plastic box containing an LED strip. The compact shape, alluring colors (it comes in a pink version along with the blue) and the materials used, make this piece a standout. Nosko explains his intense "contemporary relics" concept:
The relic is a valuable, most Christian item, containing part of a cloth or the body of saints telling a story or myth, for keeping belief. So now, when God is almost dead for many people, he [has been] replaced by technology as a main power. And that is what my relic is trying to show. [It is a kind of] mystical lighting box with an underlit fragment of PC, which tells a story about our belief: a belief in the never-ending progress of humanity without a god.
Stefan Nosko's, "Reliquary"
The winter semester projects were evaluated using the same criteria that all semester projects in the product design department at AFAD are evaluated by: problem analysis, design concept, alternative solutions, model, graphic presentation and communication process. The diverse approaches to the project reflect the department's emphasis on creative, individual approaches, which invite experimentation and encourage students to define problems, address them and learn to explain their reasoning. Students had the opportunity to present their work to a larger audience through the recent Light In Architecture exhibition: part of Prague's Architecture Week 2011.
Joann Plockova writes about design, ideas, solutions and various other topics of interest from her base in Prague. Her work has been featured in newspapers, magazines and online publications both in the Czech Republic and abroad. She is from the U.S. and previously worked as a copywriter.