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Ayala Serfaty’s Jellyfish Lamps Are Both Genius and Creepy

The Israeli designer’s latest idea is part ingenious materials design, part I’d-never-want-that-in-my-house-ever.

Israeli designer Ayala Serfaty is known for her innovative bio-inspired textile design for lamps and lighting. But while her other lamps have a bulbous, diaphanous quality that’s easy to love even if you don’t think jellyfish are pretty, her “taltal” designs are a bit more avant-garde.

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jellyfish-lamp

According to Designboom, the new lamps get their unique look — sort of like “Portuguese man-o-war meets short stack at Denny’s” — from “ancient wool-felting techniques.” Love them or hate them, you certainly can’t ignore them. The way the light softly pools out between the flapjack-like disks and down their gently hued tendrils is undeniably soothing, in a way that only Serfaty’s elegantly biological style can be. If a Na’Vi from Avatar were furnishing her haute apartment, this would fit right in.

bench

Serfaty also designed a bench to complement her latest lamp, in the same aggressively ragged style. Developed in collaboration with “felt artist” Irit Dulman, the simply-named “Bench” is hand-upholstered in something called nuno felting, which means “cloth” in Japanese and looks like a kind of feathery lamb’s wool. You can easily imagine how perfectly the alien light thrown off by the “apaya taltal” lamp would play on the endlessly curling textures of this fluffy bench. But God forbid you accidentally drop a crudité on this thing at a gallery party: sorry, those crumbs are in there for good.

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About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets

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