Hoba: serial production in pursuit of perfect imperfection — Design: L+R Palomba


A new outcome of the long-term research conducted by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba with Foscarini to drive experimentation on blown glass beyond traditional forms and methods.

Triggered by the image of a meteorite that falls to Earth, it translates the perfect imperfection of a crafted object into an industrially produced lamp that is the physical representation of anti-geometry.

To describe Hoba it is necessary to rely on terms related to nature. The new family of Foscarini lamps designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba, made in opaque rusticated blown glass, resembles stones that have fallen to earth, shaped by speed and crystallised in the instant of their flight. Not by chance, the new collection takes its name from the Hoba meteorite, the heaviest ever to fall onto our planet, which landed in Namibia, on the Hoba West farm.

Asymmetrical and irregular in form, HOBA stems from the desire to create an industrially produced lamp, but with the characteristics of a crafted object. “Like all things made by human hands, Hoba has an ambiguous relationship with its form, displaying that perfect imperfection that triggers magic, curiosity, elective affinities with human beings,” says Roberto Palomba.

In HOBA, almost nothing remains of the sphere from which it came: the glass seems to have been crushed at various points, as if a hand had left behind a series of imprints. This is a carefully balanced effect: “The form of Hoba is reached when nothing remains of the pristine geometry of the sphere. When it becomes an emptied, volumetrically mistreated object. It is not so easy to understand when to stop the operation, because when you work on irregularity you are not seeking proportions, but something that is hard to define. Something you see and you feel: an organic deformation that maintains a certain level of dynamism. Hoba is anti-geometry”.

HOBA is a new expression of the long-term research on blown glass conducted by the designers with Foscarini.

“To bring workmanship that is usually done by specialised glassmakers into a context of industrial reproduction makes it possible to create decorative lamps with a forceful personality”, says Ludovica Serafini. “The aim is to give the people who choose this lamp a unique sensation, such as only a crafted object can bring, but also with the affordability provided by manufacturing in a series”.

To create Hoba, a process has been developed that gives form to the lamp in the blowing phase, when the glass is still hot. “The pressure takes place within a precise perimeter, but it is in any case performed by the master glassmaker, so it is never identical”, Roberto Palomba explains. “To arrive at this working process, which ensures that no one lamp is ever exactly like another, Foscarini has conducted extensive experimentation, relying on its glassmaking know-how and trying out a range of different options”.

HOBA is a complete family of lamps offered in suspension, table, wall and ceiling versions, with mini, medium and large sizes.