Morpheo Modular Candlesticks by Seletti. Click on images to enlarge and play slideshow.
With the approach of Hanukkah and Christmas, we’re naturally inspired to assemble this collection of modular candlesticks and menorahs, several of which we’re displaying at our popup shop on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. For even in the age of pixels, LED’s and CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights, for those who haven’t had the displeasure of using them yet), there remains something enduringly and sensuously human about the simple flickering flame at the end of a candlestick. And of course, the association of fire not only with our antediluvian forebears but with the gods themselves carry us to a time and place not of this world. Plus you can roast marshmallows with them.
Top row left: Morpheo Modular Candlestick in clear. Middle: Modular Candlesticks by Museum of Robots. Right and below: Modular Wood Candelabra by WUDA.
As with all things modular, these designs beckon the user to participate in form-making by determining how the pieces are to be arrayed. In the case of our secular candlesticks, such as the Museum of Robots and Seletti designs, this typically means choosing in what order the components are to be vertically stacked on their stem. The elaboration of silhouette and the rhythmic sequence of superimposed three-dimensional shapes constitute the principal design challenges in their case. Still, if the modular system has been designed well, it’s hard to come up with something truly ugly, and the necessity of skewering the pieces on a fixed vertical centering pin means people have little room to completely lose their formalistic minds.
By contrast, the menorahs are oriented horizontally so as to accommodate the multiple candles required by the eight day holiday. Unlike the secular candlesticks, however, once the connecting pieces that normally hold the individual candle holders are done away with, there are few constrictions as to where the candles can be placed in relationship to each other. It is interesting to observe that most people, when bequeathed the gift of almost total design freedom, nonetheless still compose the individual pieces of the menorah in some kind of geometric arrangement (have a look at the product illustrations in this post, for example). Perhaps it is our innate desire for order, or our respect for the decorum of a religious object, but we’re just not ready to treat the emblem of Hanukkah like the inside of our closets. And for that, we can be truly thankful.
Top row left: Hex Enamel Modular Menorah by Jonathan Adler. Middle: Cube Menorah by Shlomi Shillinger. Right: Shapes Menorah. Bottom: Travel Menorah by Laura Cowan.