Potential of Light – SOZOU Lighting Design

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Founded by Melbourne-based designer Kohtaroh Colwell-Matsuura, SOZOU studio specializes in the production of minimal-looking metal lighting pieces that create a Zen-like ambiance. Next to being connected to eastern and western philosophies, the studio’s geometric lamps bring to mind the legacy of functionalist early 20th century artists that designed simple and multipurpose lighting products from metal. At the same time, the emphasis Kohtaroh puts on the viewer’s perception is informed by the long-lasting quest of contemporary artists for uncovering the creative and transformative potential of light.

Born and raised in Tokyo, Kohtaroh started to be drawn toward design and multicultural aesthetics when he moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2013. Following an emotional approach to design, for years Colwell-Matsuura has focused on producing sculptural-looking lighting works made with brass, steel, nickel, aluminium, or bronze. However, SOZOU studio’s works are versatile as each one of them is offered in diverse handmade finishings that adapt to the users’ aesthetic needs reflecting Kohtaroh’s “emotion-centric philosophy.”

A fine example of the work of this studio is the circular lighting piece titled Heavy Hat, which reinterprets the look of traditional early 20th-century glass pendant lights substituting them with metal parts. In this design, the metal panels act as mirrors that reflect light and swing as the air flows through them. Here, the rigidity of the metal is softened with the ever-changing presence of light, which at the end of the day is the main character of this lamp. Apart from the functional purpose, Kohtaroh’s works create a subtle poetry that bring forth the ethereal beauty in an interior space.


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