“Ontology is the study of existence… a little heady, I know,” says Victoria Sass, principal and design director of the Minneapolis interior design studio, Prospect Refuge. Nonetheless, the studio’s first product launch is The Ontologia Collection, lighting designed by Sass in collaboration with the local lighting studio Hennepin Made. “The collection was born out of talks about coming up with a concept that would incorporate sustainability, move beyond the idea of ‘a light,’ and get out of the trend cycle,” Sass explains. “I felt like making pieces that require care, that require you to have a relationship with them, that challenge you a little bit so you fuss with them and make them your own.”
The collection includes a chandelier, table lamp, floor lamp, and sconce. Each piece is customizable, and was designed, tested, and manufactured as made-to-order within the Hennepin Made studio. Every product includes hand-blown glass draped over a metal sphere: gravity molds the glass into unique shapes, making every lighting fixture unique. Also, the cords can be twisted and pulled, and the fixtures’ finishes will evolve with touch over time.
“Because Hennepin Made is a closed loop—they do the glass blowing, metal, woodwork—we could go deep into the design and detailing. That was appealing,” Sass says. In today’s mass-market and throw-away culture, the collection won’t appeal to everyone, she adds. “But for people attracted to the work, the items are super-customizable with colors, cords, paint colors, and metal finishes.”
“These are pieces that open up a conversation about our relationship with objects,” Sass continues. “They’re also jewelry for the home.”