Libor Sošťák (born 1987) is a product designer born in the Czech Republic. While studying design at the Academy of Art, Architecture he also gained product design experience in Utrecht, Netherlands where he learned more about conceptual design. Libor has exhibited at many Czech and international exhibitions such as Designblok, Czech Grand Design awards, Maison-Objet, Milan design week or Vienna design week.
So Libor how did you get into light design?
In 2012, back when I was studying Academy of Arts Architecture & Design in Prague, I chose “lighting” as my graduation project. I decided to create a collection of lights. I wanted to cooperate with Lasvit, which is Czech based company that has lot of experience with lighting and glassmaking. Once this project was over, we continued cooperating especially on bespoke projects and lighting installations.
What does innovative design mean to you?
I think innovative design is based on making experiments and using the right technology in the right moment. The design process and technology could be the best inspiration because you can combine unexpected materials and techniques. Mostly, I work with glass, which is a very traditional technology, where all techniques are proved by centuries. Innovations in this area are difficult but the key is to understand the technology. Sometimes you can combine different techniques, create high-tech molds and incorporate interactive lighting technology to create a truly unique design.
Talk us through your design process…
After the research, I start the concept stage. I prefer to do a lot of drawings and concept images at this point. Sketching is my favourite part, because it is very fast and effective. I tend to create many different options and discuss them with the project team.
Later on, we create the 3D model with exact amount of glass elements, frames, light sources and suspension wires. The installations are sometimes using more than 5000 glass elements so 3D modelling is, in this case, unavoidable. After this concept stage, we produce material samples of the glass components and test them on small mockup. Occasionally, we have to make adjustments in the technical details, sometimes we need to adjust the light sources. I prefer the bespoke projects, as there are no limits of creativity.
“We wanted to make something totally “out of this world,” so we designed a giant meteorite”
What collections have you been working on lately? And what inspired the design?
My latest project, designed together with Petra Krausova for Lasvit, was called “Intergalactic”. The sculpture was premiered at the Milan Design Week as a part of Lasvit´s exhibition titled “Via Lucis”, presented at the Palazzo Serbelloni. When we saw the space for our installation in the Palazzo, we wanted to come up with an idea to stand in contrast with the classical building, but also to follow the main theme of the exhibition, i.e. “past meeting future”. We wanted to make something totally “out of this world,” so we designed a giant meteorite looking as if it landed in the Palazzo Serbelloni courtyard. The installation is made out of hand blown glass elements using special uranium glass for its bright green colour. We took the inspiration from a mineral called „space glass.” These stones are called Moldavite and they are found almost exclusively in the Czech Republic. The installation is using 1600 programmed LEDs lights that create a pulsing effect, the object is dynamic and programmable.
Lastly, what is your favourite innovative product/project you have seen?
My most favourite project lately is the 3D printing robots by Joris Laarman, especially the ones printing metal from scratch and as a 3 dimensional object.