New York-based artist and designer Jessica Carnevale, of Carnevale Studio, is recently back from Salone where she introduced Group 18, a collection of neon lights for the home. When you think of neon, those bright, garish ‘Open’ signs at restaurants or beer signs in a bar probably come to mind, but so much more can be done with Neon, Krypton, and Argon, the noble gases in Group 18 of the periodic table. For this collection, Carnevale Studio decided to domesticate neon lights and create a series of five colorful lights for your desk or table. Take a look at how it’s done, in this month’s Deconstruction.
1. This video is what convinced me I had to make a neon light collection. I’d never seen the miraculous effect that electricity has on these gases up close.
2. Bending glass over an open flame.
3. I experimented with a number of wild and wonderful shapes but eventually settled on the idea that neon was wild enough – the shape shouldn’t distract.
4. Then I made quick mock-ups.
5. Working on shape, matching bulbs to CAD drawings
6. Once I’d settled on a shape, I built jigs, and also in this pic, an early view of the base that I’d designed in CAD and milled out of aluminum.
7. Experimented with loads of different colors of gases and pigments, realized pure neon with pure glass was the most extreme (hard to live with, bottom left), pure argon was great (small bulb, upper right).
8. Trip to the anodizing shop. Lots of choices – loved the racks of parts going in to the electrolysis baths.
9. Working out the junction between the class and the aluminum, using a micrometer.
10. Main studio shot with a couple of my prototypes and a master neon maker in the background bending lettering.
11. Early fully functional prototype, unfinished base.
12. This one showed me that I loved how the lights looked when they overlapped with each other.
13. At my desk with other lights in development!
14. Rn (Medium Pink) – this one was selected for the Salone del Mobile Satellite Award in 2017 – but didn’t win!
15. He (tall Magenta), tallest of the group
16. The finished collection – photographed by Matthew Williams – Group 18 (of the periodic table, the Noble gases); bringing neon inside, nobility restored, wildness intact.