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The process of creating the Maantis lighting system, launched on 9 November, began with a leisurely lunch between Richard Rogers and the late Goffredo Reggiani more than three years ago.

There was a willingness on both sides to work together, but Richard Rogers Partnership's (RRP's) project director Amarjit Kalsi says: 'The hardest thing was to create the brief - what could we do that was new?' Maantis has been designed collaboratively by RRP and Italian manufacturer Reggiani for office and commercial use. The aim was to reimagine the T5 uorescent tube lamp, dissolving its ubiquitous boxy fitting while incorporating greater technical exibility and harnessing as much light as possible. After failing to find a sheet material with a graduated mirrored surface that could be formed around the T5, the problem was broken down to a modular, microlevel - a typical Rogers strategy. The solution was a series of injection-moulded polycarbonate ribs that act as prisms, manipulating light to avoid glare. An extruded aluminium structural spine connects the ribs together with tension wires.

The spine comes in three sizes (850, 1,150 and 1,450mm) to fit standard T5 tubes and provides a channel for electrical cabling and support for LEDs, optional spotlights and accessories. Up to five spines can be connected in a continuous row system. So was Rogers involved, or did he throw in the napkin after the Riverside lunch? 'Every Monday morning we have a directors' meeting with Richard, ' says Kalsi. 'Grown men can cry at these; it's a pretty rigorous process. We've taken the same approach we adopt with a building.'

www. reggiani. net

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