3D-print-happy designer Michiel Cornelissen is at it again. To create his clever ZooM lampshade, Cornelissen has adopted the trick we first saw Sklyar Tibbits messing around with, where you print something small and made out of interlocking pieces that can then be stretched out to occupy a greater volume. In this case, gravity does the work for you.
Created as a programmable object in generative design software, ZooM has a structure created from hundreds of repeating elements that together form a series of interlocking spirals.
3-d printing allows this pentagonal lampshade to be manufactured flat and completely assembled; folded out, it's flexible like a textile, while maintaining its form like a rigid product. The semi-transparent structure shields the bulb's glare, while transmitting light efficiently.
Cornelissen is selling them in two sizes, a 20-cm and 28-cm version. And as cool as it looks in blue, at press time it was only available in black or white.
A few years ago, I saw a picture of a desk that captured my eye. I can't remember exactly where I saw it—perhaps it was this very blog—I just remember not being able to stop thinking about it. I searched the Internet to find out who had created this lovely desk and ended up on the website of Manoteca. Now, when I see something that I like, I have to tell the person who is behind it that I like their creation (or what they are wearing, or what they are singing, or what they are drawing, etc.) Call it what you will, OCD if you wish.
So I found the e-mail address for the person behind the brand, and it turned out to be a young woman called Elisa. Since then, we haven't written much, but my curiosity for the person and the visions behind the brand is still there. So, here comes the second article about young ambitious entrepreneurs working within the creative field.
Core77: What led you to start Manoteca?
Elisa Cavani: Before creating Manoteca, I was working as a visual merchandiser for fashion companies, for more or less ten years. I traveled a lot and gained a lot of information. In those ten years, I met very respectable people with so much talent. Yet the structure of big companies crushed them—I saw many people forget the things they believed in and give up any kind of talent. I was scared because I could feel that it was happening to me as well, so I decided to "fire" myself and create something that I had had in my head for so long.
This was the beginning. I moved the furniture in my apartment and for a year I worked, lived and slept in the middle of tools and sawdust. To me, the pieces of my first collection represent the freedom of expression. I loved them so much. I spent my evenings watching them, cleaning them one by one, every single hole and crack in the material. I really treated them as if they were the most valuable things I owned. In fact, they still are.
Did your ten years of experience as a merchandiser have any influence on how you started your brand?
I didn't think so initially, then I thought again and came up with a better answer. The visual merchandisers work with the visual language, they communicate feelings and moods but cannot use words. There is so much of this in Manoteca. There is a maniacal attitude, for which everything have to be perfect, and a meticulous attention to every detail. There is the organization and optimization of the time. There are the administrative and commercial skills, which I unwittingly absorbed and modified in favor of the brand. There is the knowledge of foreign markets that I have followed for a long time, the awareness that every person have different habits and cultural characteristics that you need to know, otherwise it is impossible to communicate. There are errors that I have made in the past, from which I can benefit today. There is a predisposition for solid and professional structure, which hasallowed the project to go around the world.
In retrospect, I should say 'Thank You' to my past.
This is the beginning of an interview series about young entrepreneurs around the globe working within the creative fields such as photography, product design, fashion and music just to mention a few.
Below you find the very first interview which is about Jonas Hojgaard and his up and coming Danish furniture brand Nordic Tales. It all started with the lamp Bright Sprout and have grown exponentially ever since. If you want to know more after reading this little interview, you will find him in Milan during the furniture fair April 7–13.
Core77: What inspired you to start Nordic Tales?
Jonas Hojgaard: Nordic Tales is the product of an idea about that it is possible to handle the whole range, from idea to development to sale, as a designer! You don't have to wait for somebody to approve or disapprove your ideas to realise them! A design business put in the world, mainly and primarily to contribute with aesthetics and secondly to earn money will have a set of values that the general business man can't compete with.
What would you say are the values that define Nordic Tales?
We are storytellers just as much as we are designers. We try to contribute with products that you can influence and give your own touch. We grant you with "the power to design!"
Maybe the fascination about this remodeling / customizable thing comes from all the years I spent playing with Lego as a kid, or maybe I'm just curious.
When I design, I always try to achieve some complexity, to make it more than what it is! My ultimate goal is to do this and then hide it and let you discover the products' true features—it surprises you and gives you that very special "A-ha!" feeling!
Besides this, my goal is always to make something that you can't really describe why you like. The design should be a sum of many small details, balanced so that none outshines the other. The experience of the design should resolve in an emotion that you like and not any particular characteristics that you can point out.
I find it much more challenging to achieve this in design than in, say, photography. Design is more difficult especially because it has to be producible on a large scale. Photography is much easier since it consists mostly of visual parameters.
Fifti Fifti's Take-Off Light is fitting for two kinds of people: the DIY-inclined and those with a habit of poking holes through paper. You know who I'm talking about—the people who can't keep their hands from haphazardly crumpling and drowsily stabbing scratch paper with pens during meetings (guilty as charged). This steel-and-paper lamp makes our lethargic tendency look good—all it takes is a steady hand and some design sense.
While the days of scratchy television channels and sending the man of the house up to tinker around with the reception antenna are nearly obsolete—thanks to the likes of Netflix and Hulu—there are still ways to enjoy the inconveniences of the past. The Antenna Light by Joy Charbonneau is one of those things. Not only is it much easier on the eyes, but it won't send you tumbling to the yard with a split second of unsure footing.
The Global Data Chandelier—a big name for an equally sizable installation (physically and in theory)—is more of an infographic of sorts than anything else. Created for the Center for Strategic and International Studies' new headquarters in Washington D.C. by Sosolimited, Hypersonic Engineering & Design, Plebian Design and Chris Parlato, the chandelier consists of 425 hanging, low-res pendants that brighten and dim in a synchronized patterns to display different data points—GDP growth rate, renewable water resources and energy consumption, to name a few.
From directly below, it'll only take a moment to grasp the contours of the map, which shifts into different arrangements as you view it from different angles. Check out this video of the installation at work:
We were there for the launch of the instantly iconic torqued helix of the Plumen 001, the radical compact fluorescent lamp that elevated the lowly light bulb to eco-conscious design object status. Since its debut in 2010, the helical CFL has become an award-winning, museum-worthy icon, even as the Edison bulb has asserted itself into nouveau-rustic interiors over the past few years. I personally find the bright 2700K luminaire to be well-suited to most settings, but, as they note on their Kickstarter page, "it works for areas that need to be bright, but isn't always perfect for dimly lit ambient spaces, like bars, coffee shops or your living room. Places where warmer tones define a texture and softness in the atmosphere—that's where the 002 comes in."
As Roope noted regarding Plumen's recent collaboration with Middlesex University, they've been working with the 001 for some four years now, and the second product offers a noticeably different aesthetic, both in form factor and usage: If the Edison bulb is shorthand for steampunk-y vintage, the Plumen 002 vaguely evokes Art Deco, offering the brightness equivalence of a 30W incandescent "for the coziest of contexts." Viewed on-end, the hemispherical shape suggests a filament bulb, which belies both the axe-like profile and slim, bisected teardrop shape of the frontal view. It's both more and less like a traditional light bulb than the coils of the Plumen 001, referencing its silhouette but literally paring it down to a more modern form.
Junior isn't just a task light. Like Bob de Graaf's "Species of Illumination," Junior is a whimsical living lamp that depends on your breath to keep his energy up. By breathing toward the lamp, Junior lights up—literally and figuratively—into the perfect playful midday distraction. This all being said, it's probably not the work lamp for you if you've got one of those stressful, white-knuckle jobs that keeps you way past daylight. (Or maybe you need Junior more than the rest of us.)
You can't help but pull images of Disney's Wall-E to memory with this design.
The lamp's main goal is to remind users to take moments throughout their busy days to breathe and interact with an object in a more natural and intuitive way. Junior detects the warmth in your breath and pulls energy from it to interact with your movements. Take a look:
On Avenue Mont-Royal in Montreal, you'll find just what you'd expect—gaggles of traffic making their way through cold temperatures, quaint storefronts, natives and tourists bouncing from door to door and old-fashioned street lights at every corner. But those aren't the only lights shining up the sidewalks. Turn Me On Design recently won a competition launched in 2012 by Avenue Mont-Royal with IDEA-O-RAMA—their comic book inspired street lamps that help give the street a bite of personality.
We're always interested to see how technology increasingly enables new combinations of mediums for artwork, such as a recent work of performance art that stars a carefully choreographed set of 60 lamps—exposed tungsten bulbs on an arcing wood frame—along with the performers themselves, all set to an electronic score. "A Man Named Zero" is as much a work of performance art as an example of lighting design at its best. London-based lighting experts Nocte and Urban Cottage Industries created the concept behind this performance piece—a show put on at the London Total Refreshment Centre that's meant to "tell the story of one man's rite of passage as he breaks out of his mental and physical hibernation into discovering himself and his own mind," according to the brand's website.
Performance art definitely isn't for everyone—the slightest detail can spoil the suspension of disbelief that is a prerequisite for an aesthetic experience. But if the photos and video (below) are any indication, "A Man Named Zero" was quite the spectacle.
The designers needed a way to light up their workspace and the perceived trash became a bright idea. The packing tape used to keep the sticks together became the inspiration behind the hanging strips that hold the light in place. The light's height can be adjusted using the hanging strips. The space on top of the fixture is perfect for quirky décor (as shown in the photo above).
Upcycled products like this make it seem easy to turn trash into design gold. What's your favorite design that used to be something else?
Design company Hulger challenged students to create lamp shades for a Plumen 001 lightbulb powered lamp that showed off the bulb and matched the firm's mission statement: "to create desirable products that encourage the use of energy efficient technologies." The designs they came up with introduced intriguing shapes and functionalities—whether it be a glow-in-the-dark gaggle of celestial forms or a glass light diffuser. The shades feature all kinds of materials from pipes to wood.
Spend any amount of time sitting at a workbench, as I do in my machine-fixing hobby, and your issue is always getting light to the right spot. I spend almost as much time fiddling with the swing-arm lamp as I do manipulating tools. I've thought about getting a headlamp, but suspect it won't solve the issue, although it will make me look like more of a dork.
Netherlands-based UX designer Bob de Graaf has a potential solution. Called "Species of Illumination," the project was de Graaf's entry in Eindhoven's 2013 Graduation Show and features two lamps, named Darwin and Wallace:
[The] two lights...act and react like autonomous creatures. Wallace responds to changes in light intensity in its environment and brings light to the darkest corners. Having done that, it's no longer the darkest space, so he moves on, constantly bringing light where it is darkest. Meanwhile solar-powered 'Darwin' searches for sunlight during daylight hours to charge his battery, and in the evening wanders around the house seeking movement - accompanying people with his light. The interaction and emotional relationship they bring contribute to our well being. They behave like pets. They are lively lights you can play with.
I'm less interested in playing with them than having them serve me, but that's because I am prejudiced against robots. De Graaf, for his part, is not: "I am a big fan of Wall-E, I think Pixar did a really great job in showing how a robot can be adorable," he said in an interview with UK-based We Heart. Not that the Pixar flick, or the hopping Angelpoise lamp, was his inspiration: "My inspiration comes mainly from nature. In nature everything moves all the time, some things really quickly, others really slowly, but nothing has a fixed form or place. That's why I think it's really interesting to work with movement, instead of denying it and working with fixed forms."
Table lamps are always tricky. They either look clinical and painfully put together or resemble some kind of cutesy animal that lights up when you press on its belly. There seem to be an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to overhead lighting and floor lamps&mdash. But Damm Design's Amanita (a.k.a the mushroom lamp) is a classy alternative to the boring and the childish.
The shades are made of hand spun copper and are also hand hammered for hours, as the website boasts. If anything, the texture might take away from the real-life mushroom look, but adds a little complexity to the simple design. The base is ash wood with a beeswax finish. All in all, the lamps resemble David Irwin's Rivet Lamps from the 2012 London Design Festival, with less shine.
Mushrooms are a lot like owls—people love to place them in "unexpected" places around the house for some added whimsy. And that can get old pretty quickly. But this lamp is just enough fun without going overboard.
The lamp is currently available in two sizes (tall and short) on Damm Design's website. What do you think—winner or wash?
Jon Liow is known for creating ultaminimal products with quirky twists—you may remember him for the clever "Lean" toast dish that we covered a while back. Now, he has introduced a new concept that better connects users to the hours in a day. Your first hunch may be to guess it's a watch—and you're not totally off with that guess. "Solar" is an interactive light that can be hooked up to a specific timezone that mimics the region's sun cycle. The light is controlled by a smartphone app that allows users to choose the timezone that the light imitates. The light will brighten as dawn approaches and soften as evening falls.
The only thing solar about this light is its name—the light is LED lit and runs electrically. The hope is that users will stop and appreciate a daily fixture we may not generally take the time to notice. "This unique take on time can allow us to feel somewhat connected with places we may have never even been or seen, with the user being able to experience the light cycle of any location in the world," Liow says on his website. He tells us more about his project:
The device has several different functions. In its simplest form, the user can either allow the app to automatically sync with the light to trigger a 24-hour cycle based on their current location or manually select any city in the world. Once the light is triggered by the app via bluetooth, it runs independently without needing to be connected to the smartphone. Secondary functions of the system include the ability for the user to invert the light cycle. This option allows the user to reverse the function of the light, resulting in it shining brightest during the timezone's darkest hours and remaining dark during the timezone's brightest hours. The ambient function allows the user to disengage the twenty-four hour light cycle, and control the brightness of the light manually.
Years ago, back in college, I remember rigging up a 16-foot length of LED rope lights along the sides and edge of my fixture-less closet. While it was particularly useful for finding random things (skeletons, if you will) I'd tucked into the back and off to the side, the diffuse ~3,000K glow wasn't particularly useful for distinguishing, say, my black hoodie from my navy blue one. (Solution: all black everything.)
If only I'd had the Philips LightStrips: Along with the awkwardly-named LivingColors Bloom, the recently-announced lighting solutions mark the expansion of the Dutch lighting innovators' Hue "Personal Wireless Lighting" system, which we covered when they debuted in late 2012.
The introduction of the new so-called "Friends of Hue" extends the powerful app-controlled lighting system to interesting new potential applications, though the examples in the teaser vid strike me as rather uninspired:
StokkeAustad - "The Woods"; Image courtesy of Maria Larsson / Home in the Woods
It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a serendipitous visit to a strong exhibition, especially during a week when there happen to be dozens of events to visit. (With the launch of NYCxDesign, New York's annual design week was as supersaturated as ever, what with the ICFF expanding into Javits North and Wanted Design nearly overflowing with exhibitors.) As with Field and Various Projects' Here & There, an unassuming exhibition was well worth the visit, and even though most of last weekend exhibitions have been broken down, packed and shipped by now, Home in the Woods will remain on view at 29 Mercer St in Soho (albeit by appointment only).
However, unlike Jonah Takagi's effort, Maria Larsson's exhibition is brimming with New Nordic and Swedish Modern quality, including vintage pieces by Bruno Mathsson and Sven Markelius along with works of art and design. As the sole organizer of the exhibition, Larsson readily admits that her role went far beyond simply curating the exhibition: an architect by training, she oversaw the buildout of the gallery space, as well as the PR and marketing.
Although the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is notorious for its rather unflattering industrial lighting fixtures, many of the exhibitors at the ICFF happen to design lamps and lighting for the appreciably more intimate settings of the home or office, where (thankfully) we spend most of our time. Here's a selection of some of our favs, including several new offerings from our friends at Rich Brilliant Willing, Brendan Ravenhill and Patrick Townsend.
The Gala Chandelier comes in a variety of configurations
Design agency smallpond looked to go big time for the inaugural NYCxDesign festival, entering the fray with the support of London's Designjunction. The new INTRO NY show was modest in the best way possible, a showcase of smaller, mostly non-NYC design brands in a well-lit, street-level space in the heart of Little Italy (there was audible din from a parade two blocks over when I visited on Saturday morning).
If on-site retail—a curated neo-utility pop-up shop—and refreshments seem to be par for the course at design shows these days, the backyard pop-up cafe was a nice touch (though I imagine it was rained out on Sunday).
In addition to furnishing the patio, San Francisco's Council made a strong showing with products new and old. They've brought a handful of young designers into the fold since the brand debuted at ICFF in 2007, including Chad Wright, who was happy to discuss the "Twig" chair that he designed for the brand.
Now in its fourth year, Noho Design District has taken on a few different permutations over the years, encompassing various pop-up exhibitions from a tiny Japanese butcher shop to a four-story lumber company headquarters (which happen to be on the same block, no less), reflecting both the changes within the neighborhood and the landscape of American design as a whole. Once again, our friends Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov of Sight Unseen have masterminded a neighborhood-wide celebration of young and emerging designers. In addition to partnering with several co-conspirators such as Future Perfect and American Design Club, they've also curated the flagship Noho Next group exhibition, featuring 13 handpicked studios that comprise a showcase of design talent.
The exhibition took place over the weekend at Subculture, the event space in the basement of the 45 Bleecker Street Theater, which hosted Tom Dixon's London Underground exhibition last year. (I don't know if I'm dating myself with the reference, but I remember going to the Crosby Connection sandwich shop when they occupied the cafe a few years back...). Although it happens to be closing as I write this, hopefully our documentation can serve as future reference.
Although this year marks their first ICFF, PELLE Designs actually dates back to 2008 or so, when co-founder Jean Pelle developed the first Bubble Chandelier. She met her future business partner (and husband) Oliver about ten years ago at the Yale School of Architecture, and each went on to work for major firms before setting out on their own.
The "Quadrat" series of tables takes its name from the German word for "square"; Oliver left his native Germany to study architecture in the States
Thus, their debut collection consists of iterations on the designs: the Bubble Chandelier is now UL listed, and they've just introduced a long version (not pictured) for a total of nine different shapes and sizes (they've also taken an interesting step in making all of the items available to order through an online store).
Jean noted that they make and hand-carve the Soap Stones in their Red Hook studio
Stockholm's Konstfack is among the university design departments that occupy the removed North Building of the Javits Center this ICFF, a more manageable—albeit somewhat sparsely populated—exhibition hall in contrast to the main floor of ICFF. Despite—or perhaps because of—the largely theoretical curriculum of graduate programs in Industrial Design, the 11 first-year Master's candidates at Konstfack undertook a self-initiated project to actually make objects, which they first exhibited during Stockholm Design Week back in February. According to the Negative Space website:
What is a negative space? Can it be framed by something other than matter? Can a negative space be made tangible?
Ten explorations on the possible meanings of negative space showcasing new and intriguing perspectives. By shifting focus from matter to the space that it occupies, the designers have found new ways of working by investigating the relationship between objects and the surrounding space. Presented here are a series of individual interpretations of negative space, culminating in a fascinating interplay between form, memory, movement, light and time.
Insofar as the theme itself is intangible, the students took a broad range of approaches; even in the case of light, which might be considered an easy metaphor for space, the inspiration and execution varied significantly. Nevertheless, the overall aesthetic of the work is quite minimal, in keeping with both the theme and Scandinavian design language in general.
Unfortunately, the logistics of overseas travel and the tradeshow setting made for a somewhat attenuated exhibition—i.e. the convention center simply isn't the ideal context for exhibiting the highly conceptual work. (I find that the Javits Center, for all its cavernous, harshly-lit real estate, is something of a 'negative space,' if you'll excuse the pun.) In any case, the students were excited to be in New York—a first for many of them—and they were eager to share their work.
Daphne Zuilhof's "Spin" stool inspired friendly jealousy amongst her peers for it's packability. It takes it name not from the English verb but for the Dutch word for 'spider,' where its collapsible legs delimit a volume that is a usable space.
Remember the useless machine from a couple years back? You know, the device with a switch that activated an arm that flipped its own switch? For better or for worse, I couldn't help but think of that paradoxical box when I saw Zelf Koelman's "Switch Candle"... which, ironically enough, is something like a useful version of the same. Bearing a crown of five tealights, the curious-looking object functions as a dimmable candle. I won't ruin it for you; just watch:
Koelman describes the "Switch Candle" as a comment on "how we perceive artificial light, how we interact with it and how we should not forget the amount of energy light needs to shine."
For ages we have put much effort in keeping on the fire at night to extend the day and keeping us warm and safe. Since the invention of electric light sources, I believe we lost track of how much effort and energy it really takes to keep us awake.
The problem with driving the same route, day after day, is that it becomes easy for commuters to stop paying attention. They know the route so well that they subconsciously tune out, ignoring signage both static and electronic, even when the latter is flashing danger warnings in big, orange letters.
Needless to say this can have deadly consequences, and the authorities in charge of Australia's Sydney Harbor Tunnel decided to do something about it after the following incident: "We had a fire in the tunnel," explains Harbor Tunnel GM Bob Allen, "motorists ignored the warning lights and signs and continued driving towards the fire. These drivers exposed themselves to smoke and toxic fumes from the fire and then to compound the situation they turned around (in a one way tunnel) and drove back out of the tunnel against incoming traffic."
Through a government-led R&D program, Tunnel administrators were able to contact Laservision, a creative technology firm that designs architectural lighting, permanent attractions and special events primarily for the entertainment industry. They teamed up with pump manufacturer Grundfos to create a HUGE stop sign that is impossible to ignore: It seems to materialize out of thin air, directly in front of your car.
The Softstop, as it's called, utilizes a combination of pumped water and light projection. Watch it deploy:
Kvadrat Soft Cell panels line the entrance of the Moroso showroom
Celebrating Patricia Urquiola's first textile collection for Kvadrat, a feast of the senses was organized at Moroso's Milan showroom during Salone. Entering through a hallway lit with the dynamic glow of Kvadrat's Soft Cell panels, guests were welcome into the main showroom where rotating columns of embroidered fabrics were hung around the circumference of the space.
The Revolving Room honored a spirit of collaboration—between Urquiola, Moroso, Kvadrat and Philips—as a showcase of the myriad possibilities for textile application. The Urquiola-designed Kvadrat collection was the filter on the acoustic lighting panels, an embroidered skin on the rotating architectural columns, the fabric on Moroso furniture and a material transformed into bowls and inspiring food design by I'm a KOMBO for the communal table.
Kvadrat Soft Cells are large architectural acoustic panels with integrated multi-colored LED lights. These "Luminous Textiles" provide an ambient glow of light filtered through the textures of Kvatdrat fabrics. The modular panels are based on a patented aluminum frame with a concealed tensioning mechanism which keeps the surface of the fabric taut, unaffected by humidity or temperature.
The magic of the panels lies in Philips' LED technology which allows architects to control content, color and movement projected from the panels. The Kvadrat textiles provide tactility and sound absorption qualities even when the Soft Cells are static.
Core77 had an opportunity to speak with Urquiola on the collaboration with Kvadrat on the occasion of the collection debut. As the first designer to create a collection for the Soft Cells panels, we were interested in learn more about the process of designing across different mediums and working with light.
From left to right: Anders Byriel, Patricia Urquiola, Patrizia Moroso
Core77: This is your first time designing textiles for Kvadrat. What was your design process like and how was it different than designing furniture?
Patricia Urquiola: We worked in two ways. The first process started with the idea of "applying memory," to create a fabric that looks like its been worn with time. This fabric will not get older in a bad way because it is already "worn." The passage of time will be good for contrast.
The other idea was to work with digital patterns. We have been working with ceramics as part of my research in the studio for a long time. Part of these patterns were in my mind as we were searching for new tiling designs. I am working with Mutina, where I am the art director, and we're trying not to work in color—exploring bas relief and a treatment of the tiling.
One pattern is a kind of matrix—its kind of a jacquard. We're working with a classic technique in a cool wool, but in the end, you have this connection with a digital world. The contrast of the jacquard is sometimes quite strong and sometimes more muted—you can see and then not see the matrix.
And then there was the possibility to work velvet—opaque and quite elegant. We use a digital laser cut technique. They are patterns but not. They give an element to the fabric but they are still and quiet.
These are digital techniques but the process to create all three patterns was quite complicated. I'm happy because we explored three complex processes but they turned out amazing.
After she graduated from Syracuse University in 2005, Christine Price Hamilton spent several years working as a project manager/designer at a residential architecture firm before setting out on her own—or rather, as one of the independent studios at Fringe Union in Somerville, Massachusetts. Since 2011, she's been developing the Tesselight, as well as her freelance architectural practice, with the support of her fellow Fringe members.
Launched last week, the collection of pendant lighting fixtures are made from delicately assembled translucent paper that has been "sealed with a proprietary flame-retardant and stain-resistant coating, silkscreened by hand to achieve a perfectly smooth, satin finish."
The paper is fed through a traditional windmill press equipped with our custom wood block dies. As the paper is fed through the press, the dies stamp out a series of flat shapes that together create the pattern for each Tesselight. The flat pieces then go to the worktable, where they are folded, curled and sewn by hand into a series of triangular tiles. The tiles are joined to create a spherical shape so strong that it supports itself, no inner frame necessary.
The "Atom," pictured above and at top
We had the chance to talk to Hamilton about bringing her project to life.
Core77: What inspired you to create Tesselights?
Christine Price Hamilton: Through an admittedly nerdy obsession with Buckminster Fuller, I became fascinated with fractal geometry and the Platonic solids. I was curious to see what kinds of patterns would emerge if the faces of those solids weren't strictly flat and linear, and it seemed like the pliable and translucent properties of paper made it the ideal material to render those patterns most dramatically. I was really just experimenting. I made the first set of tiles without having any idea what the end result would look like, or even that it would be a light fixture. That first experiment became what is now called the Stella pendant.
I imagine it took some time to refine the product and process behind Tesselights. What were some of the challenges you faced, and what solutions did you arrive at?
The biggest challenge so far has been figuring out how to pack and ship the fixtures. Each curve of paper is held in delicate tension by a single thread. Prolonged pressure on the fixture—even from packing peanuts—will squish and warp those curves, ruining the overall symmetry.
Ultimately, the best solution was to use the laws of geometry to our advantage. Tesselights are now packaged using a single chipboard insert which, through a series of voids and folds, mimics the edges of the fixture's form and squeezes gently between each tile, effectively suspending the fixture inside its box.