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Reverse Room: a surreal, upside-down installation by James Wines

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The signature collection “The Light Bulb Series” developed thanks to collaboration between Foscarini and James Wines/SITE is the protagonist of the installation “REVERSE ROOM” presented during Milan Design Week 2018 at Foscarini Spazio Brera: an overturned and angled “black box” that disrupts spatial perception and challenges our reactions to the environment and conventions.

Composed of a number of carefully selected pieces, in numbered limited editions, The Light Bulb Series is a signature collection of great value for the story it tells and the thinking it conveys. It is part of wider-ranging reflections on the light bulb as an archetype, with its typical form dictated by function and by the technology available at the time, which has remained constant for decades, in spite of the fact that technical evolution now makes it possible to adapt any form to the same function.
Wines approaches these considerations through explorations that gravitate around the main themes that have guided his architectural research, based on reaction to the surrounding environment and action on it. These themes are reversal, dissolution, nature, all those states of “architectural defect” that make it possible to rethink reality, giving it form while at the same time dissolving its boundaries.

All the pieces of the series are on view at Foscarini Spazio Brera in the Reverse Room, a special installation created by James Wines with his daughter Susan Wines, designed to bring out the characteristics of surreal inversion of these variations on a theme. In a room with dark walls, overturned and angled, with monochrome tables and chairs, the suspension lamps sprout from the floor, while table lamps look down from the ceiling, challenging our perception of spaces and our response to environmental stimuli and conventions.

“This series comes from the idea of disrupting the classic design of incandescent light bulbs, an idea that suggests a critical reflection on the absolutely non-iconic forms of modern LED lamps. The concept, implemented by Foscarini, stems from research on the spontaneous way people identify with forms and functions of everyday objects. In this case, the light bulbs merge, crack, shatter, burn out, overturning any expectations”.


The story of the collaboration between Foscarini and James Wines unfolds across a span of nearly 30 years, through several important phases, in a natural merging of respective poetics. Its roots date back to 1991, with Table Light / Wall Light, the first piece made by Foscarini with Wines’ SITE group, created for the cultural areas of the exhibition in Verona “Abitare il Tempo”, curated in that period by Marva Griffin. Some years later, the paths of Foscarini and SITE crossed again, thanks to an extensive profile published in Inventario (the book-zine directed by Beppe Finessi, organised and supported by Foscarini), written by Michele Calzavara with coverage of the group’s many projects. This led to Foscarini’s idea of reviving the first project, transforming it into a collection of editions of lamps and objects.

“For a design-oriented company it is always a privilege to cross paths with the conceptual and artistic evolution of creative talents with whom the firm shares intrinsic affinities. This is what has happened in the case of Foscarini and James Wines.”


  • Event
  • Installation
  • James Wines
  • Milan Design Week

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