Michael Anastassiades was born in Cyprus in 1967 and moved to London in 1988 to study civil engineering at Imperial College before obtaining a master's degree in Industrial Design from the Royal College of Art. He opened his London studio in 1994, and in 2007, he founded his own company specialising in the design and construction of high-quality lighting. His art draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including nature, ancient allusions from his home Cyprus, contemporary history, and personal experiences, which he distils into pure, simple and essential shapes. "I was encouraged in lighting because a lot of architects and friends were telling me they liked my ideas in lighting," he said in a 2020 interview with Dezeen. Anastassiades noted, "We need to build things that last," resulting in his timeless lighting design.
From September 8, 2021, until January 6, 2022, the Fondazione ICA Milano presented Michael Anastassiades' first solo exhibition in Italy. Curated by Alberto Salvadori, Cheerfully Optimistic About the Future, showcases Anastassiades' strong sense of "hand–made" that he established in his workshop over the previous year. His work blurs the lines between fine art and design, making news within the design community. His creations retain their character as artisanally crafted technical items. The ground floor of the Fondazione is dominated by sculptures of various sizes and heights, giving the exhibition a delicate ambiance. BLO20,2021, for example, is one of the pieces on display. Bamboo, waxed linen thread, spring steel, brass, and borosilicate glass are used in the installation, which are all recurring components in the art pieces that embrace the material's intrinsic irregularity.
The main exhibition space is complemented by an external room, which Anastassiades has titled the Glossary room: it's an ambience filled with artefacts from his collection. Those objects, carefully positioned in relation to one another, are part of the project's semantics. He analyses the collision of nature and civilisation in the exhibition, intending to create a positive future discourse if man can transcend this long- standing struggle by adopting the concept of natural ongoing adaptation. The title was derived from there: Cheerfully Optimistic About the Future. He is not hesitant to employ exposed bulb holders and connectors, as well as natural materials. According to Anastassiades' minimalist design, the bulb is the sole piece wholly realised by external producers and has the shape of clear glass cylinders, which resemble Dan Flavin's iconic neon works from the 60s. Anastassiades produces an overall soft space, invoking a vast imagination of reference to translate it into a lexicon of shapes beyond time, in which light components replenish the architectural spaces of Fondazione ICA Milano.
Discover Michael Anastassiades' collection of lighting and objects here.