Ivalo Lighting, founded in 2000 by Susan Hakkarainen, is based on the premise of design research. The company's mission is to make beautiful objects that are also quality pieces of lighting equipment. It made sense for Ivalo to exhibit at ICFF, a show that Hakkarainen feels, 'cuts across sectors for modern products and is accessible to the public.' Her goal is to grow the market by creating products that appeal to a broader audience. 'Attendees at ICFF are interested in product design and there is a large international contingency,' she explains.

Ivalo takes a different approach to luminaire design: it creates fixtures that respond to the architectural needs of a space, and have a residential feel but commercial qualities. This method has allowed Hakkarainen to tap into a pool of established and emerging architectural talent. Four new fixture families-including designs by William Pedersen and Winka Dubbeldam-will be released in the next 16 months.

ICFF 2004 was the debut of Ivalo's second fixture, Rotare, designed by New York City-based architectural firm Lewis Tsurumaki. Lewis, who shares Hakkarainen's design research sensibility. Both believe in marrying playfulness with academic rigor.

Rotare addresses the home office, a paradoxical space in Hakkarainen's opinion, since the architectural needs of an environment like this are difficult to pin down. Rotare's design pushes the boundaries of metal stamping techniques, using CATIA analysis (the program employed by Frank Gehry to design his famously complicated buildings) to create the pair of steel forms that change from vertical to horizontal as the luminaire's arch shape is made. The two T5HO lamps and ballast are accessible from the top, and the UL-listed patented I-cables suspend the fixture from the canopy. Both a direct and indirect source, the fixture sends light downward through the frosted lens as well as reflects it off the canopy above. Ivalo's fixtures feature the same paint used for luxury car finishes, providing a smooth appearance.

Ivalo has created an interesting design and business model in its creation of lighting, paying attention to what Hakkarainen calls 'technostetics'-that is, technology in service to aesthetics. Although the approach starts with the space then the form then the source, the end result is still excellent lighting that has an emotional interaction with people.