THE SUFI DANCER

fashion meets industrial design

BOMBAY ATELIER X AALIYA CHIKTE ( ONGOING )

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN + FASHION + LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY.

Our first collaboration straddles the relationship between industrial design and fashion, in the culmination of "the Sufi" light, a huge pendant light inspired by the graceful movements of a traditional Sufi dancer. The skirts are traditionally made of unpleated fabric cut from a cone shape. When the skirts are still, they drape downwards and when the skirt begins rotating, it slowly lifts off the ground and while whirling, a pattern of three or four sharp crests separated by broad troughs emerges. 

We created several 3d generated computer models based on the motion of spinning at several speeds. 

Then we translated the chosen model into a full scale framework, using lightweight metal sections to create the curves, crests and troughs generated from the model. We worked closely with our metal fabricators, establishing a datum in the form of a closed ring, and from then established our reference points to create a true representation of the movement. 

We worked closely with fashion designer Aaliye Chikte and her team, to create the draping of the Sufi light. By having a fashion designer on board, we were able to correctly identify and determine what material would be most suitable, and therefore how to understand the technicalities behind draping an object. Two layers of fabric were draped within the frame, each at strategic angles to correctly capture the dynamic movement of a Sufi dancer. The opacity of the material allowed us to create depth to the object through this layering. The process from starting to finishing the draping was an intensive as creating a haute couture gown, from twilling, to draping, to pinning, to stitching and to hand finishing. 

For illumination, we created a hybrid lighting solution using a combination of LED strip and a halogen tube. As this was a site specific project, we needed to ensure the light generated from the Sufi was enough to illuminate the space without any other external fixtures. The resulting form was a custom molded acrylic halo with aluminium reflector which concealed our lighting system.