Michael Anastassiades founded his studio in London in 1994 followed by his eponymous brand in 2007. His work looks to explore contemporary notions of culture and aesthetics through lighting, furniture, objects and spatial design. Through his practice he aims to provoke dialogue, participation and interaction. His designs are most notable for their honest use of materials, familiarity of form and clarity of function. They are at once disciplined and obsessive with a playfulness that inspires a vitality one might not expect.
“I wanted to design a light that was dual purpose,” he says. “It is an up lighter, illuminating the space with ambient lighting, and its rotation also offers a dim companion for reading. There’s a notion of balance, with a cone resting delicately on its point on a rotating rod.”
When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?
While growing up in Cyprus, ever since I started talking, I would always hold a pencil, and whenever someone older would offer to entertain me, I would pass it onto them together with a blank sheet of paper and say: “draw here”. I guess this was a simple way for me to tell whether I would want to spend time with them. If I was impressed with what they drew, I would try to imitate their moves with the hope that I could reproduce the same image. I soon learned not to rely on them but on my own imagination, and creativity became a personal exploration on how I saw things. But I don’t remember if there was an exact moment when I realised that I wanted to be a designer.
Anastassiades trained as a civil engineer at London’s Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine before taking a masters degree in industrial design at the Royal College of Art. His work is featured in permanent collections at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the MAK in Vienna, the Crafts Council in London and the FRAC Centre in Orleans France.
What did you experience when designing the lighting for a temple to the human spirit like the Hagia Sophia in London?
When designing a light, I always start from the glow. It is an important quality – its balance makes the entire experience become a form of meditation. I never differentiate between a light I design for a place of worship or simply for a home.
A dramatic lighting collection originally designed by Michael Anastassiades for New York’s legendary Four Seasons restaurant, Coordinates features a series of interlocking linear LED luminaires that take their formal inspiration from the mathematical precision of the Cartesian grid, illuminated and expanded to three brilliant dimensions.
Coordinates comes in a broad array of set configurations, including four suspended chandeliers of different sizes and three ceiling-mounted luminaires, available in two lengths to suit both standard and high ceilings. The collection also features a repeatable module that can be suspended or ceiling-mounted, ideally suited to impressive, large-scale installations as often featured in contract projects.
The range is completed by a vertical floor lamp model featuring a simple round base and two lighting bars, which can be set at the preferred beam angle during assembly.
Coordinates is made from extruded aluminium with a sophisticated anodised champagne finish, and an opal-white platinic silicone diffuser. Exact, elegant, and easily adaptable, this collection offers a flexible yet formally rigorous solution for a diverse range of indoor environments, providing maximum impact with a minimal touch.
“Coordinates is a lighting system consisting of horizontal and vertical strip lights that form illuminated grid-like structures of various complexities. The system can be easily adapted for different environments of varying scale.
This design evolved from a commission for the feature lighting of the main dining area at New York City’s historic Four Seasons restaurant, which relocated and reopened in 2018 with interiors designed by São Paolo-based architect Isay Weinfeld.
In addition to the bespoke solutions, the Coordinates standard collection includes a series of pared-down configurations of chandeliers that can be used in any setting.”