Bocci is one of the most dynamic lighting companies in the world, and its creative director, Omer Arbel, has continually emphasized that the brand he started in 2005 with business partner Randy Bishop is an atelier of experimentation.
The company may be known globally for its elegantly formed spheres made of hand-blown glass, ubiquitous inside fashionable hotel lobbies, restaurants and corporate headquarters. But the mandate behind Bocci is to push glass making, ceramics and other disciplines and technologies toward new and unchartered directions. More than 60 per cent of the brand’s profits are reinvested into research and development.
The Berlin studio and showroom, named Bocci79 and open since November, is yet another example of pushing the limits of creative innovation. In fact, selling Bocci products is only one function of the new location. Inside the six-storey building, defined by a grand central staircase, are 33 rooms that are devoid of furniture and painted in workaday white. More like art galleries, each one contains a lighting arrangement, or “idea,” that hangs from the ceiling or drapes like garlands down the hallway and through doorways.
The restoration of the building, which dates back to 1897, was done by Grüntuch Ernst Architekten. The local firm kept many of the original mouldings and architectural details intact. The eye-filling displays are similar to the spectacular freestanding works Bocci has created over the years at design fairs around the world, most notably during London Design Week, at the Milan Furniture Fair and at design doyenne Rossana Orlandi’s Milan showroom and gallery.
Located at Kantstrasse 79, the 2,045-square-metre interior will eventually grow to contain a fabrication laboratory. For now, it a stunning showpiece of Bocci’s reach and range, and it is open to the public between Tuesday and Saturday, 11am to 7pm.