Reconnecting modern-day humans to our ancestors’ reverence of light is the aim of Yifu Liu’s Degree Show collection.
Yifu, from Beijing, has made a series of glass artefacts which function as lamps. The lights within the lamps can only be activated when two people blow air into the same vessel. This act captures the concept of co-dependence, and the form of the series echoes the movement of air inflating the vessels. Yifu says he wanted his project to mark a dialogue between art, design and crafts.
He explains, “In today’s society, technology - in the form of virtual reality, YouTube, TV and social media, for example - separates people from their physical environment. I chose to make lamps because throughout history, humans would huddle together around a light source or fire, for comfort and safety. Nowadays we take light for granted, when in fact it’s something precious.”
Yifu’s making process is an intriguing mix of analogue and digital techniques. “I started off working on a lathe to shape a piece of plaster. It was a case of working with the emerging object in the plaster, and I felt like I was talking and responding to it as it formed,” Yifu says.
He then scanned the object and transferred it to CAD. The final pieces have been remade in glass using a 3D printer.
Yifu chose to make the final pieces in glass, largely because of the proximity of ECA’s Glass department and Product Design studios. “Every day I’d see all of these beautiful objects being created next door in the Glass workshops.”
“I chose to make the lamps in glass because they need to be interesting and engaging objects, even when turned off. Glass is a living material and has the sculptural quality my design requires.”
“I’ve made the lamps so they can be displayed in different ways. Some can be hung from the ceiling and others can be put on stands,” he says.
Yifu already has plans for when he leaves ECA. Having already sold his Degree Show series and having won a coveted place at the Royal College of Art, he’ll be leaving Edinburgh this summer for London. “I’ve met brilliant people from other subjects such as Informatics and Physics here at the University and I’ve made lots of friends through the Basketball society. I’ll miss Edinburgh but London is awesome, because it has so many design shows to see. And I have so many new connections to make.”