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Heike Buchfelder

From rooster and goose quill feathers, Berlin architect Heike Buchfelder develops minimalistic light objects. 2005 was the starting point of the label now known as pluma cubic. Buchfelder’s lighting ensemble featuring these unorthodox materials became internationally well-known at talent forums such as Stylepark, at the Cologne Furniture Exhibition, and Salone Satellite at Milan’s International Furniture Exhibition. Later in 2005, pluma cubic could be seen at Moss Gallery in New York. Since then, her design collection has continually expanded and is distributed internationally at trade shows and design fairs in London, Miami, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Shanghai, Tokyo und Zurich.

Distinctive and indisputably corporeal lamps emerge through the uniform arrangement of similar feather types. By day, these lights still have an impressive sculptural presence. Through the special method of attaching the feathers to the textile shade, which creates an almost flower-like structure, the spectator’s view falls upon the tips of the goose quills, leaving no single feather recognizable as such. Nevertheless, perceived on a more subtle level, the feathers endow these lighting objects with their inherent natural beauty and an association with floating airiness.

The first prototypes were produced solely by hand in small traditional and contemporary trade workshops in Berlin, e.g. lampshade makers, woodturners or lighting framework makers. pluma cubic still works together with these same craftspeople today, producing these carefully wrought creations, made by hand in six different workshops – from the welding of the frame to the attachment of the feathers – with much patience, time and attention to detail. Each hand-sewn, cotton chintz lampshade is punctured in a uniform pattern, after which two and four thousand hand-picked feathers are individually attached.

The basic collection consists of geometric – sphere, cylinder, cube – goose feather lamps in white, black or gray, as well as a series of cubes in four colorful, naturally occurring rooster feather types. This collection is complemented by individual light objects, the materiality of which no longer relies on geometric forms.

Natural feathers consist of a horn-like material that is surprisingly durable; with proper care they will express their beauty over decades. They exude an immediate softness and warmth, as well as something mystical that is not only attributable to the flight of birds. In many cultures, feather ornaments had a spiritual function or were considered signs of power; these symbolic ornaments have survived for hundreds of years.

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