“Layers” is a light installation by Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken at the wonderful Swedish Institute in Paris. Produced in collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy in Paris and the Swedish Institute, and supported by Luceplan, two large PVC flat surfaces are leant, seemingly unfixed, against the façade of the institute’s home, facing its manicured garden. Soft light emerges from the interstitial space between installation and architecture, inviting viewers to take a new, critical look at the building in terms of form, material and scale.

The minimalistic white, and even, surfaces become the ultimate contrast to the 16th century-building. The individual objects are bound together by the subtle interplay of light, originating from the centre of the installation. The soft gradient of light emphasises the differences in material and shape between the composition of layers, and the facade as the background.

The piece is an oversized version of the Layers lamp that Rybakken presented at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2011, a lamp whose light source was concealed behind sheets. It also draws on Colour, a light that Rybakken developed to shine through interchangeable sheets of coloured glass.

"The original Layers is a classic lamp," says Rybakken. "It’s design and all my other installations have also been related to design. But the Layers installation is much closer to art. It doesn’t have the functionality of my other work, which gave me a lot of freedom."


Project: Layers

Location: Paris, France

Architect: Daniel Rybakken, Oslo, Norway

Technical info: White PVC membrane

Picture credits: Kalle Sanner & Daniel Rybakken