In praise of shadows

In 1933 the Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki left for posterity one of the most sensitive, refined works on the art of oriental life, In Praise of Shadows, key to understanding how beauty cannot exist if the enigmatic play on chiaroscuros is suppressed. An idea that the design and lighting studio Lluminic brings to 21st-century Mallorca, a place that is so full of light and sometimes of vain lustres which require the counterweight of the wisdom of the shadows.

Just as in the west the great ally of beauty has always been light, in eastern culture, and more specifically in that of Japan, the key to the sublime has always lain in capturing the enigma of the shadow. A philosophy which, beyond the play on that which is truly beautiful, warns us against everything that threatens to blind us with its brightness. “We do not dislike everything that shines,” writes Tanizaki, “but we do prefer a pensive lustre to a shallow brilliance.” 

Unlike the clarity to which the sun has accustomed us in Mediterranean culture, “our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows towards beauty’s ends,” explains the Japanese writer. “The beauty of a Japanese room depends on a variation of shadows, heavy shadows against light shadows – it has nothing else. Westerners are amazed at the simplicity of Japanese rooms, perceiving in them no more than ashen walls bereft of ornament [...] it betrays a failure to comprehend the mystery of shadows.” 

It could well be that “indirect light” which “makes for us the charm of a room” that is the origin of Lluminic, the design and lighting project within Socías y Rosselló intended as a space for experimenting with light and shadows, and where different architectural and interior design projects are approached creatively, bringing in sensations and creating spaces based on the subtle play where shade and light silently dance.

“The aim is to create emotions through lighting, to feel rather than see,” says the creative director of Lluminic, lighting designer Pep Roig who, along with Severine Bonnet, runs a team of lighting and interior designers and architects. The impressive space where Lluminic is based recreates nooks and crannies of the home, lounges, libraries, bathrooms, work rooms, communal spaces, corridors and hallways, so that the architects, interior designers, decorators and customers can experience the effect of light and shade as though they were in their own home. 

“Adding to a shadow a dimension in the sense of depth,” is how Tanizaki defines this taste for the aesthetical which today, employing the technical domain and new technologies, although without forfeiting mystique, represents the spirit of Lluminic. And even though, for the Japanese author “that gloom is worth all the ornaments of the world and its vision never tires us,” the beautiful furniture here — sofas, tables, armchairs, lamps, shelves — complete the ensemble where the experience of working, creating, eating, sleeping or simply living, is elevated to a new dimension.  

Image modal Image modal
Suscríbete a nuestra Newsletter