x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Globelights by James Clar

Object of desire Best-known for his neon-based pieces and interactive installations, the designer James Clar has been experimenting with laser cutting.

The prototype Globelights can be seen at Traffic, Saratoga Building, Al Barsha 1, Dubai; www.viatraffic.org
The prototype Globelights can be seen at Traffic, Saratoga Building, Al Barsha 1, Dubai; www.viatraffic.org

Traffic in Dubai is becoming more and more like an iceberg. While most know it as gallery that sells a brilliantly curated selection of contemporary design pieces, and some know it for the events and exhibitions it organises, an awful lot is going on below the surface. One piece of evidence are these prototype lights by the New Yorker James Clar, who has been a resident designer at Traffic for more than a year now.

Although best known for his neon-based pieces and interactive installations, James has been quietly working away in Traffic's "back office" - experimenting with laser cutting. These pendant lights, with their oversized lattice-like shades are one of the products of that work. As well as looking at new areas of technology, it seems that James is also looking at different design languages: judging by the mashrabiya-like pattern of the larger light, this country's iconography is seeping into his consciousness too.

Although these are prototypes, James and the Traffic team are actively investigating the possibility of "Made in the UAE" production (another of their "bottom of the iceberg" activities). Quite apart from the simple beauty of these lights, won't it be wonderful if they can be made locally - for it is initiatives like this that are fundamental to the creativity and entrepreneurship that an evolving society needs. With Traffic's vision and passion, it's surely only a matter of time.

The prototype Globelights can be seen at Traffic, Saratoga Building, Al Barsha 1, Dubai; www.viatraffic.org