and it has a place in the permanent design collection
of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The relationship with
Foscarini is Sadler’s most fecund in lighting and their
joint investigation of materials also spawned ranges
including Twiggy, Tress and Jamaica for the firm.
Despite its elegance, Twiggy was first conceived as
‘something ridiculous, a mannequin holding a fishing
rod with a lamp on the end,’ he relates. ‘My initial idea
was an arm that inclined using mechanical systems...
The Foscarini team had the idea of making a disc on
the floor with a stem rising from it as if it were planted
there.’ The lamp has two main elements, a composite
diffuser, and the Kevlar and carbon cane supporting
it which moves and finds its own position using its
own weight. ‘It needed to be resistant but also soft and
flexible, with a memory so that it wouldn’t continue
to bend,’ says Sadler. ‘It was an extremely complex
formula to develop.’
At one point, when they thought they had cracked the
problem, he says, ‘we had a drink before we closed up
the factory to celebrate. But in the morning the lamp
was on the floor because the sun had shone on it. Light,
humidity, everything had an effect. We reformulated it
completely but the recipe for the design itself remained
the same. I try to cut everything that is not needed in
terms of design because if the design is already very
strong the product is already there,’ he says. ‘It’s not me
that designs it, it’s there by itself,’ he laughs.
Although they may look entirely different, Twiggy’s
development informed that of Tress, whose design was
inspired by the medieval porte-flambeaux or torch.
Sadler describes Tress as ‘both sculptural and a source’.
Now in a range of permutations, its body is made
with bands of resin wound, under computer control,
around a large aluminium tube and baked at high
temperature. The interiors of the red and blue versions
produce a complementary glow. Light is cast through
the perforations in the bands, illuminating a bottom
zone, but also carried within the bands themselves to
light an upper zone.
‘When I explain Tress I talk about shadow play. I have
‘When I explain Tress I talk about shadow
play. I have never seen lamps produce such
an interplay of light and shade’
Opposite: Tress by Foscarini may look randomly wound but
is made under computer control