Delicate translucent lamps made out of porcelain or stoneware have always fascinated viewers - and modern lighting technology uses the ancient material as well.
The fragility of porcelain is captured in a still life. Just at the moment when everything breaks it freezes the scene to ice. The "white gold", as porcelain is also called, embodies strength and resistance and is very fragile and delicate at the same time. Fine porcelain and coarse ceramics have more in common than you might think: their basic components are of great simplicity and stem from the ground on which we live. Through clever mixing, artisan craftsmanship, patience and great heat, hard, durable and often highly artificial objects can be created from the soft, light brown or whitish gray clay. It is not surprising that this primordial element is being used in lighting design it does not only resonate the archaic creation myths that man was created out of clay, but it also uses incredible hot fire to create the shards of fine ceramics. A small image of this fire glows later as a light source in exactly the substance it was made from. From clay to artful light objects
Both porcelain and pottery ware (or stoneware) are commonly referred to as ceramic. This material has a long history: some ten thousand years ago people already knew how to shape bricks and build houses or create pots from the swelling clay in the ground. One of the oldest known ceramic artifacts, that was burnt in fire, comes from Moravia: the statue of Venus from Dolni Vestonice is at least 25,000 years old and displays the fundamental simplicity of manufacturing ceramic products: fine-grained inorganic raw material (possibly clay and additives) were mixed with water to make a tough dough, which can be formed easily and can be air-dried. Depending on the temperature of the fire, the shards corroborate or become even waterproof. The prerequisite for this is the so-called sintering: granular materials solidify without melting completely. They bake together and lose their porous permeability. At the same time they are much harder than in air-dried condition.
Light for your five o'clock clock tea. The surface of pottery can be sealed waterproof in a second step if needed and can get a decorative design at the same time: by means of a glaze, which is similar to a glass coating, the pores are closed and the tool becomes easy to clean. Prerequisite for a glaze firing is a first biscuit firing at about 800 degrees Celsius. The shard loses the still bound water and the clay ingredients form new crystals. The glaze can be applied with brushes or stamps afterwards. During this step there is no hint of the later color and decorative surface, because the object seems dull and colorless. Only after a further burning at around 1,000 degrees Celsius, the glassy surface is being created, which, as you know, can shine in the most beautiful colors. Light sockets or lamp shades made of stoneware sometimes don't receive a glaze in order to maintain the specificity and rawness of the raw material. Especially the combination of the sometimes reddish and porous ceramic body as one of the basic materials of human civilization compared to the recent lighting technique creates the special tension of materials and techniques that contributes to the appeal of these lights.
Ensemble made of porcelain and light. This chandelier will be custom-made upon request. From "white gold" to modern lamps
Light objects made of fine porcelain resonate a historic arch of the white gold from China (since about 620 A.D.) over the Imperial porcelain factories such as Vienna to the Meissen porcelain (since 1710), which world-wide reputation still holds to this day. Although there is always talk of the mysterious composition of the white, almost glassy (and sounding!) substance the raw porcelain mixture consists only of a clay content by up to 50 percent (kaolin), a part of quartz and a part of feldspar. These two silicon compounds are anything but exclusive they represent the most common minerals in the earth's crust and create a fascinating material when combined with the clay kaolin during burning. Porcelain has similar properties as glass, it is chemically very resistant and hard and even translucent in case of thin wall thicknesses. This optical phenomenon requires the melt of feldspar during cooling, which does not crystallize and allows portions of light to pass through. The most amazing porcelain lamps, which use this effect, are the pendant lamps by Steng, which are handmade in the factory Hering in Berlin: simple, symmetrical primitive forms (such as cylinders or cones) look like lampshades out of several layers of fabric from a distance. It is actually thin, unglazed porcelain, which surrounds the lamp in one or more layers and lets a soft light through the porcelain, which subtle coloring comes from no other material than burnt earth. Particularly impressive are the Tjao light fixtures and the Pico chandelier.
These hand-crafted porcelain lamps are each unique, with a very special surface structure. Where porcelain is being used
The bandwidth of the use of ceramic is immense and complex. Building materials such as bricks or sinks as well as high-tech components such as disc brakes in sport cars are made out of ceramic. Cooling elements of LED lights or heat shields of space ships consist of this material. The fine porcelain as a subclass of ceramic materials leads a shadow life within this technical use of ceramics. Its qualities are being unleashed in the craft area and in tableware manufacturing.