Behind the Design:
Dandelion by LZF
With roots in nature and science, the Dandelion Pendant is a bloom of bright, LED light, designed by Burkhard Dammer for LZF.
Q&A with Burkhard Dammer
German designer Burkard Dammer is the visionary behind a number of LZF designs, and his latest piece combines technology, originality and LZF’s signature style into one dramatic piece. We caught up with Dammer to learn more about the Dandelion Pendant.
Tell us about the Dandelion Pendant.
It all started with a book: Ernst Haeckels’ drawings in Kunstformen der Natur from 1899. I saw the zoologist’s artwork in an exhibition on Darwin at a museum in Frankfurt. I was impressed by the beauty of the microorganisms represented in the drawings. As often found in nature, beauty is based on symmetry, and I wanted to turn the beauty of these microorganisms into a large light object.
Then, in my search for a technical way of making the lamp, I came upon renowned inventor Buckminster Fuller, a master of symmetry. The form of his fullerene molecule forms the grid of the Dandelion Pendant.
What makes this fixture different from other LZF lamps?
Actually, the Dandelion is made up of 31 individual lamps. So it is quite complex, particularly inside its hidden core, the structure to fix the cones and the electric circuits.
What does it take to create one of these pendants?
To have an idea for a lamp is one thing. To finish it to a successful product is another. It needs knowledge, experience and precision. All of that is offered by LZF and their technicians. I want to thank them for their perseverance and patience in helping me develop the lamp.
LZF is known for its use of wood veneer in all of its lighting. How does the material play into designing a product from the start?
It’s a bit different. The veneer is a wonderful material. It can serve as part of the housing, just as it can be a lampshade or a diffuser. But always it serves as a warm, indirect light medium. So for me it is more how to combine the warm, ambient light that comes with the material and the part of light you use to read, cook and work with.
You went to school in California, worked in the Netherlands, Frankfurt and Barcelona, among others. Do you have a favorite "destination" for great design?
That’s hard to say. I think great designs come from many places around the world. And I learned a bit about the different ways to design in each place that I visited and lived in. Europe, my continent, is full of inspiration as we have many different cultures in a relatively small area. But I would love to visit San Francisco again and Tokyo, which I have not been to yet.