Flirty ribbons of metal are akin to design Kryptonite for me when they undulate gracefully, and my favorite man of steel is Jacco Maris, a Netherlands-based lighting designer whose fixtures are distributed in North America by Global Lighting. I’ve admired his vision and his designs since the first time I saw his products, the artistry in everything he touches as exquisite as the quality of the fixtures his dedicated team of skilled craftspeople produce. He named his first collection Ruban Plié, which is French for bent steel. The flowing strips of metal are studies in graceful fluidity, and available in 6-light, 8-light, 10-light and 12-light versions, as well as bespoke configurations.
Maris’s early interior design education, which took place in the Utrecht, was followed by a stint at the Design Academy Eindhoven. He launched his eponymous firm in 1994, beginning with window displays and then moving into full-fledged interior design. The impetus for his current focus came when a client asked him to create a light fixture for a room he had designed, the inspiration for his aesthetic springing organically from his life. One of Jacco’s favorite pastimes then was foraging through local scrapyards for creative fodder, such as the bands of steel he uses to create many of his fixtures. This was 1996, and he hasn’t let up in pushing the stylistic envelope since.
Following on the heels of Ruban Plié was the Montone, Italian for ram, which comes in three configurations—oval, round and triangle. These artful constructs of twisting bands of steel are a bit more robust than the Ruban Plié, as the ribbons are wider and wrapped in complete circular motions rather than left airily open. The Montone comes in 6-light and 8-light configurations, and can also be ordered bespoke or in limited edition. A white powder-coated version, which is hand-painted with a modern interpretation of the time-honored Dutch Delft pattern, created a serious amount of buzz when Global Lighting released it in the US last year. The editors of Robb Report magazine said about it, “Jacco Maris of the Netherlands explodes the country-quaint image of Delftware by applying medieval painting technique to his white-coated stainless steel Montone chandeliers.”
Interior designers express enthusiasm for Jacco’s fixtures. It is the Paraaf—his latest wavy banded creation made by hand from a single strip of stainless steel, and inspired by the pleated ruff collars and intricate signature flourishes popular during Elizabethan times—that has made Justin Shaulis a fan. It’s not a surprise to me given the flawless taste and sophisticated point of view of this New York City-based interior designer, who has served as the Design Host during a season of HGTV’s “Home Rules.”
He says of the Paraaf, “This pendant is no exception when it comes to Jacco Maris’s captivating ability to elegantly sculpt lighting fixtures using simple materials. The pendant is rendered in a continuous band of stainless steel where the polish allows the metal to reflect the most prevalent hues of the space to give it a chameleon-like coloration. The emanation of light exists within the ripples of metal and presents a modern but also a traditional recalling of extruded metallic lace. The choice to dangle the undulating flow by utilitarian ball-chain reinforces an elegant floating effect. The aesthetic flexibility of the pendant does not anchor it to a specific room and could be placed successfully in any space where a gorgeous, jewelry-like pendant is required.”
I agree with Justin—the versatility of Jacco’s fixtures, which allow them to defy stylistic categorization, is one of the lighting designer’s strengths. Describing the trajectory of his product development, Maris says, “I’m not trying to make a collection that fits together; I am attempting to create a series of icons.” He told Architects + Artisans: “We love to create especially beautiful designs with unique materials which complete the living space, both beautiful and functional. And we try to make sure it is a great, timeless choice because we only love to create lights that stay.”
Given this sentiment, it is no wonder we at Productrazzi are inspired to shout, “It’s a light; it’s a sculpture; it’s super, man” when surveying these timeless modern testaments to Jacco Maris’s design greatness! I’d be thrilled to interview either of these talented individuals in a #DesignSalon setting.
Text of Jacco Maris Man of Steel © Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here and Stranded on the Road to Promise. Saxon is also the co-founder of Sharktooth Press. She also produces The Diary of an Improvateur and is a columnist on Architizer. *Global Lighting is an adroyt client but the association in no way swayed the opinions contained within this post.