The wonderful Duncan Meerding and his range of beautiful lighting and furniture designs, including Stump and Cracked Log is one of our all time favourite designers and humans. Over the years, he has continued to make a growing impact in the design world internationally, winning awards and having his work grace some very impressive venues. Most recently, the Palazzo Michiel is showcasing his Stump lights as part of an installation at Venice Design 2018. His lights will be on show for the next 6 months in Venice. Excitingly as part of this overseas tour, Duncan has also won best floor light in the international DARC lighting awards. The big difference with these awards compared to other decorative and other design awards, is that the international design community is invited to vote on their favourite projects and products via the darc awards website. One designer, one vote (you can’t vote for yourself, that would be silly!), making this the only peer-to-peer decorative lighting awards in the world. Duncan says he is pretty humbled to win this international peer to peer judging award with over 6000 lighting designers voting. We think it is well deserved and can not wait to see what he does next.
The Venice Design event is the largest International Design exhibition running alongside La Biennale di Venezia. From May 26th to November 25th 2018, the third consecutive edition of Venice Design is being hosted by the European Cultural Centre. In the historical location of Palazzo Michiel, facing the Grand Canal, international Designers fill the venue to express themselves, and to propose their persperctive on materialising, shaping and transforming our daily environment. Designs aim to show the ongoing connection between body, object and space, challenging the visitors to interact with pieces and immersive installations. Duncan’s Stump lights and his focus on reusing discarded materials and reflecting his peripheral view of the world, are a perfect fit. Around 50 international creators from 30 different countries are invited to present their processes and visions towards Design.
Duncan has had a range of impressive achievements in recent times including:
- Google Singapore commissioning Stump lights for their new HQ
- The Den Salamanca ordering custom lighting
- MACq01 ordering 101 lights and 20 coffee tables for their hotel
- Two hotels in scandanavia ordering Stumps and Cracked Log Pendants
- Exhibited at the largest lighting trade show in the world Euroluce as part of Milan Design week in 2017 (over 330000 attendees)
- Exhibited at two exhibitions in USA in last 6 months, with another one in New York to come.
The Venice Design 2017 edition had over 200,000 attendees over the 6 month period, so exposure for Duncan’s work will be incredible.
“When we walk into a space, the lighting is something that influences our mood. This is not always done on a conscious level but sometimes on a subconscious level. These lights, like much of my work, try to influence the light patterns in a space in a positive way. When I walk in the wilderness under a tree canopy the dappling effect that the branches and leaves have upon the sunlight relaxes me. I hope to create similar effects through these lights” explains Duncan. “The dispersion of light through and around objects with a concentration on overall form rather than intense detailing, and the highly tactile nature of my work reflects the alternative sensory world in which I design – being partially blind, with less than 5% vision concentrated around the peripheral visual fields” he continues.
A lot of Duncan’s design process is informed by making or experimenting with the actual material. The cracked log light concept, found in the ‘Stump’ design, came about through having an actual piece of wood, which was being rejected for other purposes due to its cracks. “The idea of light coming from the cracks was a somewhat whimsical notion” he says. Making a feature of a ‘defect’, creating beauty from what could have alternatively condemned the material to being waste. “This consideration of making something to last and creating something of beauty from waste showcases my concern for sustainability in design. As well as this I try to create works which stand the test of time, not following quick moving trends, instead creating works which the end user can have an emotional connection with for years to come” he says.
Each light has been handmade in-house through Ducan’s design practice, utilising a range of traditional and new making techniques, creating a very unique light pattern each time, with shards of light bursting in multiple directions from the log vessel. These shards come from utilising the directional properties of warm white LED lighting fitted into the lamp in a custom fixture, pushed through the cracks in differing patterns.
Each stump measures 400 mm high and approximately 300 mm wide. The width varies due to the nature of the material; each log chosen for this design is unique. Macrocarpa is the species utilised for the creation of the works in this exhibition. The species has been chosen for three main reasons. One is the varied and beautiful nature of the outside of each log. The second reason is the timber is often felled on farms in Australia, so this material is easily salvaged. The third reason is that the timber has rot resistant properties allowing for use of this design outside.
First Designed 2014, these Stump lights have also used outdoor rated glues or finishes when present, as well as a stainless steel bracket to hold the item down if required. The lighting fixture is rated to be installed outdoors to 12 volt power supply. While Stump can be installed outdoors or indoors by an electrician, the light can also be plugged in in a room to create a warm ambient mood light. The height and construction method for Stump also allows for it to be used as a table or a seat. Duncan is not just about Stumps however and has an impressive range of lighting and furniture, to which he is continually adding his ideas.
We are in awe of this Aussie designer and the way he shares his experiences of the world through his designs. You can see what is happening in Duncan’s world on his website We are sure he will continue to innovate and share his light in the world for years to come