Unitfive Design Inc. Monday 10 Jun 2013

Unitfive Design was founded in 1996 by Lisa Santana and Kelvin Goddard and has primarily focused on art and design installations in luxury spaces worldwide. The Rue Picot lighting series is the first product line to emerge from the Unitfive studio and marks the first time Santana and Goddard's work is available directly to the public. It evolved from a custom light concept that the studio completed for the international design firm YabuPushelberg and evolved into part of the permanent collection at Avenue Road. It's named Rue Picot because the design is reminiscent of the intricately woven streets of Paris. Rue Picot, like all Avenue Road edition pieces, is identified by a street name from around the world. In creating a product for Avenue Road, they join the ranks of other notable designers like Piero Lissoni, Marcel Wolterinck and Jonathan Adler.

The Rue Picot Round light is the flagship of the series and is being re-launched in a new antique brass finish. Joining the series for the first time is the Oval and the Petal light. The original Round light has a 4' diameter and comes in a total of 4 widths and custom heights. The 5' long Oval light is being introduced because there was interest in a ‘more grand' version of the light for use in a boardroom or dining room. The 3' Petal light is a response to the need for a smaller, cost effective, slightly more feminine light for smaller spaces. All are fitted with a single incandescent bulb and can be used as a down light as well.

Each light in the series is composed of a minimum of 2000 linear feet of antique brass wire. For each, Santana and Goddard hand-cut, stitch and wrap each of the components that radiate from the core of the light. Keeping true to their purist artisanal roots, only a single weld secures the structure of the light. The rest of the light is hand-assembled and secured with mathematical precision in a meticulous multi-step process. Like a snowflake, each light is carefully engineered to the tiniest detail.

Although precisely crafted, each is slightly different like a unique artisan piece. The intention behind the RuePicot light is to create a handcrafted light that could also be reproduced, not ‘mass-produced'. Its design is a counterpoint to the plethora of lights on the market that are fabricated by machines.

Lisa Santana describes their approach to the design. "Like all of our projects, we were inspired by the notion of manipulating a simple linear material like wire, and turning it into something three-dimensional. It was an exploration of a single material as much as it was a challenge to create a light that can be successfully reproduced while maintaining its handcrafted appeal.

"The Rue Picot series is about the luxury of artisanal craft, and unique because its conception, design and manufacture is all completed on-site at their studio. It is available exclusively through Avenue Road at their showroom in Toronto or New York or at

Photography: Ben Rahn A Frame Studio