Petasus Pendula ceiling lamp

© SemperNovum

When tradition and modernity are combined

The Dutch designer Louis Verbeek has always been fascinated by three things: design, technology and history. With the help of PLEXIGLAS® he has been able to combine his three passions to create extraordinary lamps.

“My lamps are my children,” says Louis Verbeek. And just like actual children, each lamp has its own personality. The uniqueness of these lighting objects is key to the concept at SemperNovum – the designer label of Louis Verbeek. It combines historical materials from restoration projects, such as old castles, forts or farms, with modern designs, technology and materials such as PLEXIGLAS®.

How the lamps came to see the light of day

PLEXIGLAS® plays with the light by breaking it, diffusing it and guiding it, which creates very surprising effects in every lamp.

Louis Verbeek
owner of and designer at SemperNovum

The initial idea for developing lamps came to Verbeek as part of a competition in 2008, for which the designer created his very first lamp, the Arcus. Even then, he used PLEXIGLAS®. Since that time, his passion for lighting has become a full-time job and led to him establishing the SemperNovum design label. PLEXIGLAS® plays a huge role for Verbeek, as all his lamps are manufactured using the brand acrylic glass. “PLEXIGLAS® is not only very easy to process, the consistent quality of its transparency and the diffusion of the light is unmatched by any other material,” explains the Dutch designer. Experiments using glass quickly came to a grinding halt due to the variation in quality, as the transparency of thicker glass depends on the properties of the iron ore used to create it. It is impossible to control this when working with natural products. However, “when using PLEXIGLAS®, you can always rely on 100% consistent quality,” says a delighted Verbeek.

A lamp is first created as a sketch. The design drawing and a colored 3D computer image then follow.

Designing light

Every lamp designed by Louis Verbeek starts out on paper. After the first few sketches, the designer creates more accurate design drawings which he then turns into colorful 3D images on the computer. Even the plugs, switches and LED holders are created by the designer and then manufactured by more than 20 suppliers. It is therefore no wonder that the lamps are exclusive objects which are only available in limited runs, not least due to the historical materials used in their creation.

© SemperNovum

PLEXIGLAS® – a real prototype

Verbeek developed the design architecture of his lamps by combining his profound knowledge of materials and his joy of experimentation. He began working with PLEXIGLAS® in the early development phases, creating his first prototypes from the material as he could easily procure the already cut sheets from the PLEXIGLAS® online shop. “I have to get a feel for the material before I really know its effects,” says Verbeek. This is because it is not always easy to predict just how the lighting effect of a lamp will develop – despite the consistent quality of PLEXIGLAS® – as deformations can affect the diffusion. One of the most fascinating aspects for Verbeek here is the ability of PLEXIGLAS® to transport light from one place to another.

PLEXIGLAS® for lamp designers

PLEXIGLAS® gives designers the space they need for their ideas. The material is available as a sheet, pipe and column and in many different colors and surfaces, as well as with special properties. PLEXIGLAS® Textures, for instance, is an exciting material which can be used in extraordinary lighting designs. It is available with various surface structures or haptic patterns – whether with grooves, a honeycomb structure or with a look reminiscent of bark.

Linking two worlds

The designer combines the modern material of PLEXIGLAS® with “real historical treasures,” as he calls them. These include materials such as clay bricks from farmhouses, stones from castles, or wooden parts from grain mills. “Often, materials are left over when buildings are restored,” says Verbeek. “We take these materials, carefully restore them ourselves and give them a new lease of life.” Every lamp from SemperNovum can be designed using these materials upon request. A small plaque on the lamp serves as a reminder of the origin of the historic material – a unique lamp with its very own personality.