Zero
1989 – 2001
Two light sources - front and back – each in a separate chamber and each controlled through its own dimmer, from maximum to zero (black). The colour of the front disc can be changed by the insertion of coloured filters.




















Sold Through
1995 London Lighting, Fulham Road
1997 Geoffrey Drayton, London
2004 Louisa Guinness Gallery, London
Dimensions
H 1670
W 90 (lamphead)
270 (base)
Materials
Milled aluminium, clear anodised (lamphead)
Cast aluminium, clear anodised (base)
Stainless steel (column)
2 x Dimmer switches in a handheld unit
2 x Transformers (12v)
2 x 20W halogen capsules
Set of colour filters
History
The lamp began life as “SPACE LIGHT” in 1987. It had come about as a result of my search for simple solutions after the complexity of the earlier Chromats; the new one would have only two light sources.

Despite looking functional in a Bauhaus way, its intention was not primarily functional (to see by) but as a lamp for looking at - it played with ideas of perceived levels of brightness and contrast. It did however have the function of a “domestic lamp-post” (lighting a wall). In these times of obsessive energy-saving, it can be turned down low.

The first version was for 60W “golf ball” type bulbs, precision engineered in a Nissen hut in Eling, Southampton. I asked for “Rolls-Royce” quality with a threaded front section that screwed into the lamphead (causing problems later by adding significantly to the expense). The base was sandcast locally in Redbridge. This version opened at ANTA Spitalfields in 1988.

A year later a more compact version of the lamphead was redesigned for the miniature tungsten-halogen capsules that had just become available. A new circular base suited the look of the lamphead. An edition of 10 lamps was shown in 1989 at Issey Miyake MEN, Brompton Cross, a newly opened shop and one of the first “minimal” retail spaces in London.

A second edition of 10 was shown at IKON, Spice Building, Shad Thames in 1991, together with other pieces. The exhibition had to be rapidly dismantled on the second weekend as the company were about to go bankrupt; luckily the receiver did not get his hands on any of my work.

It was subsequently taken up for manufacture in 1993 by ANTA Leuchten, Hamburg (no connection), a successful lighting company with connections throughout Europe. I was drawn by the enthusiasm of the director Gertrud Kracht and by the prospect of legendary German engineering. The precision engineering workshop in Southampton had done an excellent job but had mysteriously disappeared in the recession. Under the new name ZERO, and with very few changes, production at ANTA continued until 2001.

Marketing in the UK proved frustrating, with problems of import taxes and beurocracy, and crucially, expense due to the mismatch of currencies. It was turned down by both Heal’s and Conran, typically with the comment “we love it but it’s too expensive”.

In 1995 It was finally sold in the UK through London Lighting, Fulham Road for a short time (see image of their laughable Valentine’s Day window display), lost in a forest of lamps when what it needed was its own (dark) space in which to be properly seen for what it is, a lamp for looking at.

Geoffrey Drayton and MINT then handled it for a short time. Despite the fact that I had managed to sell most of the examples of the two previous editions in the 80’s, the early 90’s economic recession in the UK meant that it was by now somewhat overpriced in this country.

Several more examples were acquired following its reappearance at Louisa Guiness Gallery in 2004.