New light on sustainable design – MVRDV turns Delta Light’s luminaires inside out with new design presented at Milan Design Week

New light on sustainable design – MVRDV turns Delta Light’s luminaires inside out with new design presented at Milan Design Week


On June 7 at Milan Design Week, MVRDV and Delta Light will present the High Profile series, a range of luminaires inspired by residual product: leftover aluminium profiles. The design looks critically at the manufacturing process, finding both opportunity and beauty in elements generally discarded as waste. 

Belgian lighting company Delta Light closely collaborates with architects in their projects and is a regular guest at Milan Design Week. Delta Light searched for a designer for their latest collection and looked to MVRDV. In addition to a high-quality product that would be consistent with the Delta Light catalogue, they also requested a design that would be bold, colourful, and conceptual, in line with the architecture that MVRDV is renowned for. 

The team of MVRDV architects and interior specialists, led by Jacob van Rijs, decided to make a feature out of the difference between how a luminaire is presented in a showroom and the less glamourous reality of how a luminaire is crafted and produced. A sustainable approach to producing the new range was the starting point; the designers wanted to work with recycled materials where possible. 

“The project started with the question of whether we could develop new possibilities with Delta Light’s waste material instead of inventing a completely new product”, says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “A visit to Delta Light’s showroom and factory showed an interesting contrast between the lighting, which was presented amidst a great art collection in their showroom, and the factory where raw materials, components, cables, drivers, screws, caps, packaging – in fact, everything that goes into a luminaire – was visible. In particular, the stacks of aluminium profiles in various shades of white, silver, black, and gold proved to be a source of inspiration. The amazing details of these profiles are usually hidden inside the wall or ceiling; we wanted to make their beauty visible as the main feature of the new design.” 

Profile lighting is a key part of the architecture, but offcuts are often a residual product. These scrap elements became the starting point of the design. By varying the scale and size of the extensive Delta Light profile range, a series of luminaires could be created from this element. The High Profile series presents a cube-shaped pendant luminaire, a wall fixture in an arch shape, and a freestanding model with profiles placed side by side. The industrial look is softened by giving the profiles a colour dip; the series comes in pink, ochre, light green and light blue, among others, adding MVRDV’s well-known use of expressive colours to the usually white, black and gold assortment of Delta Light. 

To make the design approach functional in the long-term, MVRDV’s technology taskforce MVRDV NEXT developed a script called the “Profile Remixer”, which can generate possible compositions with all 50 types of profiles and evaluate them with real-time data. With this tool, the High Profile concept allows for the ongoing development and adjustment of the design, accommodating the changing availability of leftover profiles and changing demands for size, shape, and composition. 

The name ‘High Profile’ illustrates the process of putting in the spotlight that is usually found backstage. At the same time, this series is a homage to craftsmanship because each luminaire is carefully made by hand, collecting precisely engineered and designed profiles. “Made-to-measure profile lighting has been part of the Delta Light range from the very beginning and has grown to become an extensive collection”, says Peter Ameloot, managing director of Delta Light. “We were very surprised and at the same time delighted to see that MVRDV not only appreciated the level of precision and expertise that goes into the design and production of these profiles but that they even wanted to bring the raw material to the forefront. To see a product that is usually completely integrated and anonymous in architecture evolve to become such an eyecatcher was a very inspiring exercise for us.” 

In addition to being made from industrial elements, High Profile also questions the re-use of materials and sustainability throughout the production process. By re-using what is already there, new aluminium parts don’t need to be manufactured or transported from the production plant – significantly reducing the environmental impact. The luminaires can also be disassembled, meaning that some of the raw materials can be re-used. The design, therefore, invites consumers to think carefully about the materials around them, to see beauty in the everyday and to see opportunity in what we usually ignore.

Sources & Credits

  • Architect: MVRDV 
  • Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas 
  • Partner/Director: Gideon Maasland Design Team: Gijs Rikken, Michele Tavola

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