Launched during NYCxDesign in May, the new Castor Design lighting series, named Panopticon and Middle Grey, are explorations in strong yet minimal lighting design.
Castor Design is a Toronto studio that started out by upending Canadiana cliches – their first products included the Sauna Box and the Castor Table, whose various legs included a “beaver-gnawed log.” But its specialty has always been lighting. Now ubiquitous in restaurants, its burnt-fluorescents Recycled Tube Lights showed how design ingenuity could make something new out of spent light sources. In recent years, the firm has honed in on designing minimalist light fixtures, like its Conic Section Light and the Coil Light and Induction Wall Light, both of which are AZ Awards winners inspired by the science of light.
At ICFF in May, Brian Richer, Kei Ng and company debuted two new lines: Panopticon and Middle Grey. They were among the best in show. Panopticon features a rotating shade that conceals the light source – what at first seams a solid diffuser is instead a hollow half-sphere. It is supported by a barely-there dowel fixed to a chunky cylindrical base.
Middle Grey comes in various LED-powered forms: as a sconce, as a table and a floor lamp with a grey marble base, and as a cylindrical pendant, all made with an extruded aluminum tube that’s laser-cut, then painted.
According to Castor, “In photography, painting, and printing, Middle Grey is the name given to the shade of grey that appears to the human eye to be halfway between black and white. It’s used to determine how light will affect a given film stock (i.e. whether it will result in under- or over-exposure).” We also think it’s an unexpected finish for a classic-looking light series.