The Typology Collection: Telling a story of sky & earth, light & shadow
Breaking away from traditional
lighting vernacular was a central topic of discussion when Landscape Forms designers and engineers
began working with their counterparts at Designworks, a BMW Group company, to create the Typology
The Typology Collection is an innovative seating and lighting system
that adds a dynamic new dimension to any site, enveloping the visitor—both from above and below—in an
Over a year in the works, Typology brings together
seating and lighting to contribute a dynamic new dimension to outdoor spaces, enveloping the visitor—both
from above and below—in an immersive design experience.
“Especially in the design of Typology’s lighting, we wanted to simultaneously
harmonize with and contrast against common themes in urban architecture,” says Tobias Adami, Creative
Director at Designworks. “The tall, slender forms of the luminaires accentuate the verticality of the urban
space, while the organic curves and repeated use of circles throughout the different components’ design
serves to contrast the angular, motherboard-like layout that defines most cities."
To create the Typology Collection, Landscape Forms partnered with Designworks, a BMW Group company and international leader in product development and industrial design.
“Designworks is always an exciting partner to work with,”
says Landscape Forms Chief Creative Officer Kirt Martin. “They are true collaborators on both sides of the
design equation, having the passion and profound creativity to help tell an original story through design,
but also the engineering expertise and technical prowess to help bring that design from sketch to site
installation. They have our utmost trust to execute consistently on such a high level for ambitious projects
like the Typology Collection.”
“Even for two companies known for their originality in design, I think we’ve both
gone above and beyond with this statement collection,” says Landscape Forms President of Lighting, Jordan
Agustin. “The Typology Collection light fixtures are all signature pieces that present illumination in
artful and uncommon ways. During the day, the striking form of the luminaires adds visual interest to the
space, and, at night, the way the light is cast is art in and of itself.”
Typology ring lights are striking pieces of industrial design by day
and enchanting, ethereal pieces of luminescent art by night.
“In our early discussions about lighting design, a
guiding question was 'How do you light open spaces without using the traditional light pole we’re all so
familiar with?’” recalls Landscape Forms President of Site Furnishings & Structure Robb Smalldon.
The materials are elegant and refined, yet resilient and enduring.
With this determination and the two teams’ complementary
expertise in product innovation, artful design, and state-of-the-art manufacturing, came the striking
luminaires and unique lighting-enabled seating that set the Typology Collection apart. At the heart of the
collection, the flowing, cast concrete ribbon bench uses integral downward-facing lighting to create a
low-glare carpet of illumination around its footprint, drawing in visitors and aiding wayfinding.
In addition to the ribbon bench's internal lighting, Typology path lights safely
guide users throughout a space. Like a small-scale, vertical version of the ribbon bench, a concrete mantel
encases the stainless steel core of the path light to provide strong continuity in design.
Combined with the ribbon bench's integral ground lighting, Typology
path lights safely guide users throughout a space.
Following the ribbon bench and path lights as they snake
through the urban landscape, two distinctive area lights—the Typology ring light and the Typology stick
light—provide artful and intriguing illumination from above. Like a looking glass to the sky, Typology ring
lights are stunning, glowing halos. Perched atop a steel mast, a circular strip of LEDs creates a solid
ring of ambient light that is recognized instantly from nearly a mile away. When viewed from underneath, the
luminaires are portals to the sky, pulling the gaze upward and accentuating a vertical urban landscape.
Typology stick lights further break from lighting tradition with a pole that is
itself one solid source of light. These vertical columns of warm white light stake claim to the site,
accompanying the modular ribbon bench across its diverse configurations and creating prominent visual
landmarks that draw people into the site. Arranged side-by-side, stick lights can divide spaces, punctuate
spaces, or create virtual rooms of light.
Sculptural elements play in both the vertical and horizontal planes,
incorporating both light and shadow, to draw the eyes skyward then back to the earth with signature
“There’s a pervasive sense of weightlessness that runs
through the collection, communicated in many ways through the creative use of illumination,” describes
Augustin. “You may think of concrete as ponderous and monolithic, yet the ribbon bench is anything but. With
integrated lighting illuminating the space around and underneath the bench, the whole structure looks like
it’s floating above the ground. This stylistic lightness ties in with the fine, cylindrical nature of the
stick light and the airy openness of the ring light to bring strong continuity across a variety of forms and
“You may think of concrete as ponderous and monolithic, yet the ribbon bench is
anything but—with integrated lighting illumining the space around and underneath the bench, the whole
structure looks like it’s floating above the ground. This stylistic lightness ties in with fine, cylindrical
nature of the stick light and the airy, openness of the ring light to bring strong continuity across a
variety of forms and materials.”
Manufacturing the luminaires to create a cohesive narrative of light, shadow, form,
and space provided unique challenges for product engineers on both sides of the collaboration, challenges
Landscape Forms Lighting Innovation Specialist Eric Nelson was eager to take on. “The way we approach the
design and manufacture of light fixtures is different than that of many other lighting companies. Often,
light fixtures are designed mostly by engineers with a strong focus on technical specifications—how much
light is needed, and where it needs it to go—and aesthetics being a secondary focus,” describes Nelson. "But
at Landscape Forms and especially for the Typology Collection, we needed to weigh both these priorities
evenly. The luminaires needed to be both industry-leading in their technical performance and aesthetically
beautiful, unique, and inspiring in their form.”
Typology ring lights are stunning, seemingly levitating light fixtures
with illumination reminiscent of the sun’s corona during an eclipse.
“This delicate balance between functionality and design
integrity was something we experienced in engineering the internal components for the ring light,” continues
Nelson. "It’s quite an unusual form, so we couldn’t rely on our familiar-sized LEDs and optics to achieve
the halo-like effect that the design called for. Instead, we opted for a flexible LED strip with the diodes
placed extremely close together and projected it through diffuse urethane to create a smooth, contiguous
line of light more reminiscent of neon than LEDs. It worked out beautifully.”
The Typology Collection is systematic and adaptable, living comfortably
in both new and existing architectural environments to guide the movement of traffic and create unique,
With its lofty design ambitions achieved and engineering
challenges overcome, the spirit and purpose of the Typology Collection are clear: to create inspiring
outdoor places for people to come together. “This new collection speaks of gathering," concludes Nelson.
"The stick light serves as a beacon to guide people. The ring light makes a welcoming gesture that says
‘Come join us.’ The curve of the ribbon benches invites people to relax, converse, and enjoy each other’s
company. Togetherness and community…It’s a beautiful thing."