15. December 2016

Interview with Serge Cornelissen, Designer of
the lighting system ARINI

The innovative lighting system
ARINI from Hess features a unique combination of light, multifunctionality and design.
We spoke with the designer of ARINI, Serge Cornelissen, about the genesis, source of inspiration and many possible applications.

1. You developed the ARINI lighting system for Hess. What is the concept behind it?

Well, in my opinion, existing solutions didn’t offer enough. Of course, there are a lot of intelligently developed municipal lighting systems around. But the way I see it, in many cases they don’t contribute enough to the overall visual effect of their urban context. That’s why it was important for me to come up with a design that created a special daytime impact as well. Because once a light is installed, it is also present there throughout the day. Starting from this standpoint, I wanted to combine the necessary functions with a range of design elements that would contribute towards creating a feeling of well-being for people.
And as I searched for inspiration in nature, the shape formed by a tree and its branches provided a good basis, which would also allow different functional objects to be included.

2. The motto of ARINI is “Inspired by nature”. How much did nature actually inspire the design as far as you are concerned?

If you are looking for design elements that are going to communicate a feeling of comfort to people, it is certainly worth taking a look at the world of nature. And a good starting point, as I mentioned before, is a tree. But conceptually, it wasn’t quite enough to be able to implement the functionality and flexibility that I was looking for. My basic thought was to implement a “parrot concept”: A parrot is a very flexible bird. By flexible, I mean that it is independent and colourful and is characterised by many positive attributes. And I could draw all the necessary aspects together in this basic thought. Flexibility through the colour design aspects and the integration of multi-functional elements such as speakers and cameras.

3. The ARINI design is also extraordinary. What led to you this?

It was important to me to have an organic shape to complement that of a tree. And in that respect, the parrot became my template. I’d like to mention a particular detail at the rear of the ARINI luminaire head that can have its own lighting. I had imagined, although I’m probably wrong as I’m not a biologist, that parrots also use their tail feathers to attract the attention of other parrots. These thoughts inspired me to develop the “tail lights”. They can also attract attention when the main lighting is switched off and in this way, they create a further highlight and design feature.

4. What challenges did you face when developing the ARINI?

The biggest challenge that I faced was to find the correct balance between an elegant shape and having enough space for all the components that were needed. Even though the luminaire head appears very voluminous, the proportions are perfect. The shape might appear to be relatively simple, but it still took several attempts to develop the final design. I am very happy with the result.

5. ARINI is a child of our times: Light, multi-functionality and design are amongst the principal elements. How did you manage to reconcile these elements?

I didn’t have to reconcile them. Such a reconciliation, such a harmony was in the concept from the start. If you have a concept of a tree and a bird with such an imagination, all the elements merge together to create a coherent whole. That’s the beauty of it.

6. These days, the demands placed on lighting are completely different. Where do you make use of lighting? 

For me, lighting doesn’t just have a functional character. It is also a means to trigger emotional experiences. With the options available today, particularly those available with LEDs, being able to control the colours, the intensity of the light and the type of lighting, light can fulfil this emotional role. Of course you can improve visibility within a space using light. But you can also paint, paint with light. You can highlight certain elements in order to direct the attention of passers-by to them, either consciously or subconsciously. In this way, ARINI doesn’t just provide lighting for streets and squares. ARINI also creates emotions and atmospheres.

7. WiFi, speaker or camera - so much is possible with ARINI. Why have all these features?

This multi-functionality is fundamental, particularly in respect to the global urbanisation trend. These days, almost everybody wants access to WiFi. So it’s good if you can integrate a function like this into a lighting system. It’s the same with speakers and cameras. All the elements can be built into the same units, into the same structure and therefore, into the same design. It is particularly beneficial for architects and town planners to be able to integrate different functions of this type into one landscape element.

8. There are countless variations of ARINI. Why is that so important for you these days?

Because no two situations are the same. There are many different scenarios that each have their own lighting requirements. The more flexible the system is the more it can be used to fulfil different tasks. The more functions you can offer, the bigger the application spectrum. It’s that easy. And with ARINI, we can cover the widest possible range of demands. In this way, we also create clarity in urban spaces.

9. Which application areas is ARINI conceived for?

To start with for lighting applications that provide good visibility in urban spaces, such as squares, shopping streets, town parks and other green spaces. But also at crossroads and traffic roundabouts.   While I was developing the design, it also occurred to me however, that ARINI has a great potential for commercial environments as well, such as in front of administrative buildings, museums and hotels. I can well imagine that companies with the ARINI design are sending out a message about themselves. An ARINI in front of a company’s premises creates an impression and through its multi-functionality, also offers many advantages.

Design(er) in motion - see here the complete interview

Serge Cornelissen – designer by passion 

Serge Cornelissen, who was born in 1970, studied architecture at the “Sint Lucas Institute” in Ghent, Belgium, and is a successful product designer for indoor and outdoor lighting.
With his design office “serge cornelissen” founded in 1993, he specialised in the design of timeless architectural luminaires and lighting systems. His designs, which have often been recognised with prestigious design prizes such as the red dot design award, do not bear their own design signature but rather are understood as aesthetic and functional elements that fulfil a certain need for light and comfort in an architectural context.

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