Q&A: HiiH Gallery - Design Bureau

HiiH Gallery

HiiH Gallery

HiiH Gallery

HiiH Gallery

HiiH Gallery

HiiH Gallery

Q&A: HiiH Gallery

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

We recently caught up with Lâm Quảng from Portland's own HiiH Gallery to shed some light on the deep history of paper-making and the ever unfolding possibilities that the craft still holds. Works from HiiH Gallery have illuminated the Metropolitan Opera of New York and recent exhibitions at KOBO gallery.

What is it about handmade paper that makes for a great lamp?

Our handmade paper with the wax coat diffuses the light, giving a more even light quality, important for both bold, bright lighting as well as soft, subtle lighting. It poses few limitations on the design process, allowing for, what feels to us like, endless possibilities in form. Handmade paper is an ancient craft that originated way back when people came up with the need for writing. I happened to discover the craft from a friend when she made a thick sheet from recycling scrap paper 15 years ago. That was the seed for my further experimentation.

I spent two years in studio making all sorts of paper: paper from rice, potato, sugar cane, scrap paper. It was fascinating to see how the little fibers bond and twist while I formed the sheets, especially when I held them up to the lights. The way the fibers bond is so similar to the skin and bark of all living creatures around us. Our skin, with its natural oils, holds us together and protects us. The wax/resin combination we use on our paper gives it the translucency of skin and the protection it needs for beauty and longevity.

Do you ever make the same lamp twice?

Our lamps are made by hand, each is unique. We do make the same designs, however, there is a living quality to our designs because they are always evolving. Something that sets our work apart, is that we are the designers and the fabricators, so the creative process continues through the creation of each piece. It is fun and challenging to work on commissions where clients want site-specific designs, allowing for the influences of the artwork, the architecture, and the clients' ideas. This pushes the design evolution in new directions, keeping our work fresh.

Where would you most enjoy to see an installation of your pieces and why?

Outside the range of possibility, we would be most inspired to create an installation for the The Noguchi Museum, to pay homage to the great master whose work inspires us greatly.

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