2017 / Illumination / Floor Lamps / Professional


  • Prizes
    Silver in Illumination/Floor Lamps
  • Company
    Partisans, Canada
  • Lead Designer
    Alex Josephson
  • Design Team
    Teddy Shropsire
  • Project Link
  • Other credit
    Not Applicable

Gweilo is a new collection of custom lighting
by PARTISANS that reimagines illumination to
architectural effect. Inspired by the idea
that light itself could be harnessed and
manipulated to create a physical sculpture,
PARTISANS developed a design that alters light
at its source.

The evolution of Gweilo was prompted by a
series of questions: How does one play with
materials to transform the emission of light?
Can one make luminaires pool, bend, drip, and
drape to emulate the vital movement and
properties of light? What fabrication
techniques would make it possible to achieve
these effects?

Each Gweilo light is handmade using
thermoforming, a technique that allows etched
optical grade acrylic sheets to be
individually shaped while they are still in
their hot plastic state. The sheets are heated
to just under 400°F, at which point they
become molten and pliable. They are
immediately removed from the heat source and
sculpted to produce a variety of distinct
folds and silhouettes. When our custom-
designed metal extrusion containing an LED
strip is affixed to the cooled sheet’s edge,
light is diffused across the etchings,
amplifying luminescent output. The extrusions
do double duty: they behave functionally as
heat sinks that distribute light and
aesthetically as decorative details that
complete the whole.

Named for a Cantonese word that means “white
ghost,” Gweilo lights are spectral sculptures
that pleat and curve like light rays
themselves. It is our belief that 21st-century
design should perform on all fronts:
functionality, sustainability, cost
efficiency, and aesthetically. Currently,
Gweilo lights come in five different sizes,
functioning as accents, dividers, or
centerpieces that gracefully delineate space
to create an ethereal atmosphere. Winners of
the 2015 LAMP Award and the 2016 AZ Award for
Best Lighting Installation, Gweilo lights are
designed and fabricated in Toronto, Canada by

Photo Credit: Partisans
Credits: Not applicable