12 Dec Fantastic Forms: A Look into Aqua Creations with Founder Albi Serfaty
Inspired by organic objects and deep ocean life, sustainable and advanced lighting emerges from Aqua Creations. Founded over 20 years ago, these creations rebel against the minimal designs. We spoke with Founder and Creative Director, Albi Serfaty, about Aqua Creations’ handcrafted lighting pieces, their process and their goals.
How would you describe the Aqua Creations aesthetic?
Creative, Original, Beautiful. These are just the simple descriptions that come to mind. Aqua is a perfect combination of artistic values and quality. Our atelier creates art pieces which function as design objects. Our lights are beautifully made with impeccable detail, using the most advanced and sustainable lighting technology. It is functional art.
You mentioned Aqua Creations was founded in 1994 as a small household business and now has grown into an international lighting and furniture atelier. Tell us a bit more about the background and evolution of Aqua Creations.
Aqua Creations was founded in 1994. In direct contrast to the minimalistic designs of that decade, the brand’s first collection took inspiration from sinuous organic objects and underwater sea life. Now sold in 38 countries around the world, Aqua’s collections contain over 100 bespoke floor and table lamps, sculptural ceiling-and-wall fixtures, creative pendants and furniture pieces for residential, commercial and hospitality purposes. Some static and some mobile, the designs are made of silk, felt, wood, laser-cut and hand-formed stainless steel, copper and polymer. “Since foundation, we at Aqua have been melding time-proven techniques and high quality materials to produce modern classics that are not only impactful, but also enduring. The fiber of our brand is artisanship and handcraft, yet we are constantly evolving and one step ahead of the lighting industry by integrating innovation and motion lighting into our creations” – Albi Serfaty
What inspires the fantastical forms and colors of the pieces designed by Aqua Creations? Tell us about the creative process.
Inspiration is something you don’t find, it’s something that comes to you from nowhere, when you least expect it. I believe when one comes across an issue, that exact issue is what fuels passion and illuminates a person. I am attracted to things that are beautiful and detailed to perfection, no matter if they are manmade or natural, abstract, or what you’d call real: clouds, mountains, people, music, art, literature, love, ideas, thoughts…I look and wait until I see something. Then I take a moment and try to memorize that moment as the source for my work. Sometimes I’ll come back to the same place with a camera and or I’ll sketch, write something that will remind me of that exact moment. There is a story about Albert Camus in his forties, returning to his beloved city where he was born, after an absence of twenty years. He wants to see if he can re-feel the same emotions after the passage of so many years and to his absolute surprise he can.
Even as a global brand, you mentioned all pieces are made to order, individually handcrafted using high specification materials. What are some of the benefits to this type of craftsmanship?
In this day and age, everyone knows how to use a computer and will design and print their own products at home. But a good artisan will always be more valuable than a machine. This is what we do at Aqua Creations, we craft our fixtures with advanced technology but with our own hands, the core idea of artisanship remains unscathed. There is no benefit to us, the producers, in this kind of production. All the benefits are for our clients, they are receiving unique and special pieces from trained artisans. We function as private chefs to our clients to meet their needs in the best possible way.
What is Aqua Creations’ studio space like? Does is have an effect on the process?
We work in a huge space; it’s a long building about 300ft long and all workshops are positioned as the process goes. We have complete workshops of metal, wood, electricity, polymers, paint, fabric, packing, sculpting, photo studio and a showroom all in one space. It’s an amazing space, it is actually my dream. Our space is a perfect playground for creativity. I am not a patient person and I like to build everything in-house and Aqua Creations’ space is doing exactly this.
Your pieces are versatile and made for residential, commercial, and hospitality spaces. Where do you envision is the best place for one of these dream-like lighting pieces?
As you have mentioned, our pieces are versatile. Our pieces fit perfectly in any space, once the object is the right one, it shines without harming the surroundings. It is like a great soundtrack of real life. If needed we can always build a custom piece.
Aqua Creations’ lights use advanced and sustainable technology for color temperature and dimming control. What kind of effect does this have for the different spaces the pieces are meant for?
Light is super important for our quality of life. It affects all human senses. Your concentration actually increases with the correct light temperature. Moreover, we have different needs and emotions during our working hours or in our living space. The new line of lights that we are working on will fit every moment of the day by imitating the color temperatures of the outside world or it can be controlled by the user to achieve any atmosphere desired.m.
I call this project we are working on “the future of lighting” no less. It’s been 25 years that we are making the most beautiful lamps, and now we added the IOT (internet of things). The new lamps will be a part of our lives as an art object, as a lamp, and as evolving light source that will help us function in a better yet personal way. The light temperature and intensity will change during the day and will fit perfectly to your functionality in any mood. In addition, my goal as Creative Director of the brand is to leave my very own legacy in the lighting industry, setting trends rather than responding to them. That is the overall direction I see Aqua heading towards.