Meet M&O’s designer of the year, Michael Anastassiades

Designer Michael Anastassiades is going back to where it all started, home décor and interior design trade fair, Maison&Objet Paris.

After training as a civil engineer and completing a master’s degree in industrial design at the Royal College of Art, the Cypriot designer founded his studio in London in 1994 and his eponymous brand in 2007, which he launched at the show. Next year he will be back at Maison&Objet as designer of the year.

“It was an important time for me and a chance to define and develop the identity of my brand,” he says.

Anastassiades believes that to design a light, one first has to embrace darkness. When designing a light, he takes into consideration that a lamp is off 80 per cent of the time, so he takes the time to figure out the relevance of the object when switched off. In his vision, a lamp is never an isolated object because it has to interact with its environment.

“This January I want to offer an experience. For the very first time all 16 of my Mobile Chandeliers will be showcased together―in the dark space, the lights, propelled by motors, will move as if planets.

“For me, it is important to always show something different, make sure that what I design explores a new idea, uses new technology in a poetic way.”

Anastassiades was drawn to lighting early on, for its poetic qualities he says, but was aware no company would hire him until he had made a name for himself.

In his work, the designer uses simple shapes and volumes, however, “it takes a lot of effort to make something look simple. The simplicity encourages curiosity, and curiosity leads to participation and interaction.

“The illusionary simplicity of my designs is a labour of love, and not something easily achieved. Designers are there to create relationships and interactions between people and objects,” he adds.

Although best known for his lighting, he has designed with the same rigour and clarity in all fields: furniture for the likes of B&B Italia, Herman Miller, Cassina; drinking glasses for Lobmeyr; speakers for Bang & Olufsen; a public project in Mint Street, London; and a drinking fountain for the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Maison&Objet is held in Paris from 17 to 21 January 2020.

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