Every year (at least for the past 13 years) Steelcase has hosted an annual Wreath & Menorah Design Competition in the city of Chicago. The competition encourages local architecture and design firms to re-imagine traditional holiday fare, with each item available through a silent auction and all proceeds benefiting The Children’s Place Association. Last year, an unusual Menorah made of brass, wood, and mirrors took home the ‘best in show’ nod, designed by a trio of employees from Gensler’s Chicago office.
Designed by Michael Shaub, David Tracy, and Beth Mosenthal, the radical design is nothing short of enlightened. (Candle joke!) The group explored the design of the Menorah by experimenting with wax and mirrors, eventually refining the sculptural design to the most elemental of forms. The minimalist Menorah comprises two mirrors, placed at various angles, and just one candle (the Shamash); the positioning of the mirrors reflects and replicates the candle in coordination with the days of Hanukkah. Despite its reductive form, the Menorah is able to produce more than enough candles needed during the 8-day Festival of Lights.
The initial design, constructed out of brass, walnut, and mirrors, was initially realized in the Chicago office’s model shop. The finished piece, which stands at 9” across and 9” tall, features painted markings that position the mirrors for each night of Hanukkah. Rather than lighting new candles each night, the mirrors are re-positioned to create more reflections, with the final night producing the smallest angle and reflecting only the brass base.
Photos courtesy of ChicagoManMade