Designers To Watch in 2020: Michael Anastassiades (Exclusive Interview)

Michael Anastassiades is often described as a poet of light. Using only the most essential forms, each collection is expressed like a Japanese Haiku — minimal and full of meaning. In this delicate aesthetic, there is nowhere to hide. Instead, each element must function in perfect harmony as part of a glowing whole. It’s this holistic approach that makes his work so unique, and one of the many reasons we’re delighted to announce him as a Designer To Watch in 2020.


How would you describe your relationship with light?

All beings are instinctively drawn to light. As a lighting designer, I’ll be lucky if I manage to capture one of the infinite ways light exists in nature.

There is a reason why there is the day and why there is the night – and we should never try to replace one with the other. When designing a light, I think it’s important to acknowledge that it can never be an isolated object but one that interacts with its environment.

Overlap Pendant Light

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How did your collaboration with Flos first come about? And how has it evolved over the many years you’ve been working together?

I met Piero Gandini in 2011, 4 years after setting up my eponymous lighting brand. It was actually during my first participation at Euroluce. We agreed to meet a few months later in London where I presented a book for a new lighting concept. Today it’s known as the String Lights…

I started producing my own designs as a way to realise my ideas without compromise. A few years later, I started working with Flos. I never thought that I could do the same for someone else.

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There’s a real essentiality to many of your lighting designs that hides their complexity. What’s the most challenging light you’ve ever worked on?

Every collection is a challenge. It takes a lot of effort to make things look so simple.

When designing a light, I always start from the glow. It is an important quality – its balance makes the entire experience become a form of meditation.

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Tell us a little bit about your creative process. Do you have any rituals or habits that you always undertake before getting in the studio?

I travel a lot but always try to maintain a certain level of discipline in my schedule. I always carry my sketchbook with me and that becomes my filter in the most uninspiring spaces I find myself in.


I bring those ideas back to the studio and we work on sketch models straight from the sketches. I try and avoid 3d virtual models, especially in the early stages of development.


I also swim whenever I’m in the studio. There is a municipal pool very near.


While growing up in Cyprus, ever since I started talking, I would always hold a pencil, and whenever someone older would offer to entertain me, I would pass it onto them together with a blank sheet of paper and say: “draw here”.


I guess this was a simple way for me to tell whether I would want to spend time with them. If I was impressed with what they drew, I would try to imitate their moves with the hope that I could reproduce the same image.

Best thing about living in London?

London is a creative hub. Creative people are attracted to big cities. You can’t ask for a better environment to be in where so many things are happening — from art to Architecture, music to theatre.

Growing up in Cyprus, I was lucky to meet a great architect and friend of my father, Neoptolemos Michailides. He was a real visionary and very much influenced the way I see things now.

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