Jon Liow is the founding director of Richmond-based studio ODO (One Design Office), and a defining vision in the development of Milligram Studio’s lighting range. Following on from the fascinating ‘Form’ series, Jon and the rest of the ODO team were the obvious choice to help bring the new Balance collection to life.
We spoke to Jon about the philosophy behind the Balance collection, and ODO’s approach to design.
What was the concept behind the new Balance collection?
The Balance light was inspired by the traditional weighing scale – an object which epitomises simplicity and purity in both form and function. The idea was to create an object that sat “lightly” on the earth, through the use of fine lines, simple forms, and minimal structure or mass.
What makes this collection different to our previous lighting collection, Form?
The Form collection is about playfulness and presence. They let you know they are there; they are bold and interactive; they want to be talked about.
The Balance collection is about subtlety and elegance. Fine profiles and clean lines are used to create a visual balance of proportions, whilst integrated mechanics also ensure seamless ergonomic function. Balance is about quiet beauty.
The Ambient lights are quite unique. How do you design a product that’s innovative while still functional and familiar?
Sometimes innovation comes out of going back to the bare necessities and letting the design evolve naturally – you’ll often find that nostalgia, past experiences, and innate design instinct then enables you to complete the design organically.
The Ambient lights came about from stripping back the function of lighting to its bare necessity, and then seeing what could be incorporated to produce a simple and functional item. Ironically, the design process lead to them resembling what looks like the head of the Balance desk light, utilising a simple ergonomic handle that allows them to either be hung, carried around, or gently placed on the ground.
What is your favourite item in the Balance collection?
I love simple items. The Ambient light represents a lot of what I believe design should be: simple, functional, and (if possible) beautiful.