The Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, DIFFA, in the USA regularly stages charity events, the proceeds of which benefit uninsured HIV/AIDS patients. In December 2012, local architects, designers and artisans from the San Francisco design community donated their time to a DIFFA Dining by Design event.

Lighting designers from Lightswitch Architectural were invited to collaborate with architect Ted Pratt of MTP Architects to create a table based on the concept of progress. The table and bench bases were fabricated from reclaimed black walnut wood and metal salvaged from the Golden Gate Bridge, an historic symbol of progress for the city of San Francisco. Red saturated light was used to accent the historic “International Orange” hue of the bridge materials and to create an evocative backdrop for the centrepiece: a custom chandelier comprising simple, bare-lamp pendants that visually charted the improvement in survival rates for American patients with AIDS over the past three decades.

The chandelier displayed twin line graphs that depicted two sets of revealing statistics. The length of the pendants corresponded to the first set of statistics, AIDS mortality rates over a 31-year period. The graphic arc demonstrated the decline in AIDS-related deaths after medical advancements in the mid-’90s. The chandelier’s light levels represented the second set of statistics: the ratio of five-year survivors over the same 31 years. Individual lamps were dimmed or brightened according to the survival rates for that year. Both the graphic arc and increase in brightness symbolized the progress that health care, awareness and education have made in combating the disease.

Project team:
Architects: MTP Architects – Ted Pratt/USA
Lighting design idea: Lightswitch Architectural – Janelle Drouet, Kelly Roberson, John Cumiskey and Adam Rechner
Furniture: Golden Gate Bridge Furniture Co.
Photos: Lightswitch Architectural