Meet the New Mumbai-Based Studio Making Lamps Inspired by Ancient Culture

The work of the new lighting design studio 500 B.C. comes from a fairly unexpected place, in more ways than one — not only is the firm based in Mumbai, India, but founders Anandita Shah and Shiraz Noorani both have backgrounds in disciplines other than product design. Before creating their very first lamp together a year ago, somewhat on a whim, Shah ran a handbag company for 15 years after studying accessory design at the London College of Fashion, while Noorani was a civil and structural engineer. Since pivoting, they’ve been churning out lamp after lamp under the influence of icons like Luis Barragan, Alvar Aalto, and Ettore Sotsass, whose “ability to transmute ancient philosophies and cultures into contemporary design” has been a major inspiration for the pair, says Shah. Their fascination with ancient art forms and cultures is referenced in their name, too — 500 B.C. being the start of the Axial age, which brought the world folks like Buddha, Mahavira, and Socrates.

The couple’s most recent collection of lamps — all of which are handcrafted in metal and wood workshops in Mumbai — play with the idea of balance and geometry. “The Aslant table lamp was initially inspired by the metal installations of Richard Serra,” says Shah, “while the Scale lamp is made from solid Burma teak wood, with semi-circular acrylic ‘scales’ inserted into the base.” Check out those below, along with a selection of our other favorite works by the studio, then visit their website here for more.
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