Wrapping The Photon: Function And Form In Environmentally Sound Lighting.

Angus Hutcheson combines natural and unusual materials with dynamic design to make lighting that's brilliantly unique.

By Lars von Tol

Hutcheson has developed a plethora of awe–inspiring advancements in the field of light design. His design firm, Ango, is based in Thailand — Hutcheson moved there after practicing architecture in London, following the promptings of a lifelong interest in light and shadow, as well as a kinder climate.

For Hutcheson, the concept of the purity of light is a creative inspiration that dictates both the structure of the fixture, the diffusion of the light, and the materials with which it’s made. Ango’s lights are crafted with what some might consider a limited palette of materials — rattan, silk cocoon, hand-soldered  steel filigree, hand-cast polymer, and mulberry tree bark.

By limiting the amount and variety of material, Hutcheson’s designs allow light to expand to interior prominence, where the interplay between form and light source becomes the enchantment. This is a minimalist approach, as unique as it is environmentally responsible.

The piece ‘Wraith Twig’ demonstrates a formal mastery with basic materials combined with a sort of ethereal appeal. Its purpose is to strike the eye and reflect light, intended perhaps more as art than fixture.

Likewise, ‘Orbit’ and ‘Double Orbit’ prove that rattan isn’t merely for patio furniture. Doubling up an already striking design creates more than double the impact—two graceful loops of rattan that glow from within, transporting the mind to reflections upon infinity.

‘Full Moon’ and ‘Evolutionary’ are striking examples of Hutcheson’s use of silkworm cocoons to create delightfully lambent lighting, reminiscent of sun-filled clouds. They are strange echoes of the environment that inspired them, embodiments of the sort of calmness one wishes for in a madding world.

Multiple awards and museum features serve to authenticate the sense one gets that these designs are more outstanding than outlandish. 2012 was an especially good year for Ango, with the standing lamp ‘Globette-EV’ garnering a Design Excellence Award from Demark, as well as an award for Good Design from GMark. The light ‘Virgo Agna’ won Best Lighting Global Style Design from Elle Decoration.

Angus Hutcheson isn’t resting on his laurels. He was delighted to exhibit the new lights ‘SUPERMoN’ and ‘Auroral’ at ICFF in May 2017. The future looks bright as well: Hutcheson is excited to display handcrafted Ango lights at the curated Gwangju Design Biennale in October 2017.

The designs are handcrafted and time–intensive to construct. A video tracks the evolution to completion for one medium-sized light, cocooned in silk, at nearly 30 hours. The workshop is more artisan than assembly-line. A humane approach to labour is certainly on the list of virtues Ango Lighting possesses. Beauty cannot be rushed, and the deliberate act of handcrafting an object gives it a uniqueness one often misses in standard fixtures.

Ango’s construction process is not dissimilar to the process of metamorphosis. The thoughtful use of local materials in artisanal workshop ensures Ango is a low-energy/low-impact operation. The pieces mature at a natural pace, and emerge only when the time is right.

Hutcheson also ensures that working conditions are fair and convivial. Most important for the end user, Ango ensures a strikingly original, environmentally grounded light that is stunning as a centrepiece in its own right.