Making its debut in the US during the WestWeek conference at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles last March, the new line of luminaires from Italian manufacturer Artemide harnesses colored light to transform interior spaces. Called Metamorfosi, the series encompasses 10 luminaires, each created by an internationally renowned industrial designer; among the star names are Richard Sapper, Aldo Rossi, Andrea Branzi, and Ernesto Gismondi, Artemide president and creator of the program. "Up to now we had to consider purely white light for [interior] illumination," Gismondi says. "Color was obtained by using colored glass that filtered the white light. The novelty of the Metamorfosi system is its inherent ability to create atmospheres, restoring the relationship between man, light, color, and the environment."

Though housed in strikingly different fixture forms--including torchiere, pendant, and sconce versions--the luminaires each contain three parabolic reflectors projecting the light produced by three 100W/120V halogen lamps through three dichroic filters in the colors of red, blue, and green. By regulating the intensity of the light emitted through the color filters via a patented, internal microprocessor, up to 12 million atmospheres and colors can be created, Gismondi says. A fourth parabolic reflector projects light through a clear dichroic filter to provide the white light needed to correct the resulting atmospheres and to increase white light output when color is not desired. The luminaires are preprogrammed with 12 color atmospheres, ranging from Borealis to Sahara, and can store an additional 42 settings, or color abstractions.

Though colorful lighting may be a mainstay of concert and theatrical lighting, Artemide hopes to help metamorphose a building interior near you. The new line will be distributed through Artemide and its selected dealerships throughout the US.