ANGO, a modern lighting brand, creates contemporary lamps of poetic beauty, comprised of unusual natural materials. Locally-sourced mulberry bark, rattan and—most imaginatively—silk cocoons in their found state, are amongst the inventive raw materials featured in ANGO pendant lights and modern table lamps (2Modern is thrilled to be the exclusive retailer of the ANGO Unit Cocoon Table Lamp, featured above). Recently, ANGO founder and lead designer, Angus Hutcheson, gave us some insight into his design process—touching on creative influences, environmentally friendly design, and why being challenged is a good thing.
Ango lamps are notable for their unusual material composition. Can you tell us something about what led you to these unconventional materials, such as silkworm cocoons?
After moving from being an architect in London to being a lighting designer in Thailand, I found the same considerations of form light and texture apply, really.
The diffuser materials being used need to work towards the form I’ve envisaged, but generally have developed in a fairly random fashion through observing what’s around, followed by a good deal of experimentation with either “found” natural materials, or developing composite/natural ones.
How has living in Asia, and Bangkok, in particular, influenced you as a designer from the west?
I notice a looser attitude, more open in what is really quite a push/pull process between the concept, the design process, and the technique/materials being put into play.
Also, our own production techniques, which are mostly quite intricate and involve hand made production techniques that we’ve built from the ground up with our artisans, has been essential, and this is an influence in itself on me as a designer.
"ANGO designs are about combining the magic of light with architectonic form and exciting materials and techniques..."
Sustainability is a design buzzword, with a range of definitions. As a product designer, how do you define sustainability?
I do feel that quite literally, in terms of product design, creating things in a way that is sustainable for the Earth to support without us degrading it, or without creating more degradation of the ecosystem
To that end, our production techniques are inherently environmentally responsible, and the energy usage/carbon footprint involved in creating the diffuser in each of our designs is extremely low, with fabrication by hand, using highly renewable materials. For the steel components, while these undeniably have a higher footprint, they’re designed to be easily retrofitted or recycled
What lighting designers, past and present, do you count among your creative influences?
Number one for me has to be (Isamu) Noguchi, with the perfect timeless forms that he achieved with his lighting.
Then outside of the lighting arena, I feel the Thai design movement comes with a fascinating crossover between contemporary design and the rich cultural heritage of Thai craft.
We're excited to be the exclusive retailer of Ango's new table lamps. What challenges did you face in bringing these designs to life?
I feel Ango designs are about combining the magic of light with architectonic form and exciting materials / techniques to create special pieces. Challenges are a part of the process really, and, sometimes even if a design idea doesn’t work out at all, can send you in an interesting new direction!
Emitting an elegant glow, the ANGO World Pendant Light, above, is ideally suited to places where nuanced lighting is key.