Visual artist and industrial designer Henk Stallinga (Tietjerksteradeel, 1962) graduated from Amsterdam’s Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1993 and started his design business, Studio Stallinga, that same year. He has designed furniture and lighting ever since, always playing with both function and meaning. More recently, Stallinga has created installations and sculptures sculptures that incorporate light, movement, sound, and the passage of time.
One of these works is his monumental light sculpture Chain Reaction, composed of 144 circular tube lights suspended in a large circle as a symbol of eternity. Over the course of one day, the intensity of the light varies progressively, from one circular light to the next, completing the cycle in 24 hours, just as our earth rotates on its axis. The axial tilt of Chain Reaction is identical to that of Earth (23.4 degrees) and because the installation slowly rotates through the year, it also mimics the four seasons. In this design, light and movement portray time and space as Stallinga strives for a long-term relationship with his public: To experience its different phases, one would have to visit the installation several times during the year.
Chain Reaction was designed as a stand-alone work. However, it has both inspired the choreography of the ballet Extremalism and serves as its focal point. The dance is performed by thirty members of the Ballet Nationale de Marseille and the International Choreographic Arts Centre (ICK) in Amsterdam. The production is about mankind and the human body in times of crisis, extreme situations, and minimalist circumstances. Dancers and light sculpture—the thirty-first dancer, as it were—move together as one dynamic entity.
Studio Stallinga is one of the 26 designers and studios that are selected for the group show Dream Out Loud – Designing for Tomorrow’s Demands. The exhibition can be visited from 26 August 2016 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Read more about the exhibition or order tickets.