Alejandra Cabello Martin
We find ourselves eying all kinds of designer lighting fixtures, from beer can table lamps and 3D printed lamp shades to geodesic pendant lamps and shades made of bottles. This time, we have a group of designs that were part of a product design course at Middlesex University in England.
Megan Harley Seyhan Kekec
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.
Bernhard EiserBernhard Eiser Designer: Ibrahim MohammedDesigner: Ibrahim Mohammed Maroun Jawiche
But there's much more to these designs than good looks. Students learned valuable lessons when it comes to designing for a client. "Working with Hulger has benefited me immensely by making me realize it's ok to not get things right straight away," relates participant Megan Harley on the Plumen website. "The key to good design is to not get too precious with an idea but create many prototypes and keep trying until you find the solution/outcome while having fun along the way." Other students talked about the importance of feedback on their designs and the excitement of creating a new design process.
From left to right: Janet Tam, Risha Parmar, Luxmi Aggarwal, Kastriot Hasani Sonia Ginestar Gomez
In a statement to Middlesex University, Hulger Director Nicolas Roope explains the importance of this class project to the design firm:
"We've worked intensely with the Plumen 001 project for over four years now from the design, through to the production processed, through launch and into the sales and marketing part of the cycle. With our heads down there's not always the time to innovate and open up to new ideas that aren't central concerns of the business. Briefing the Middlesex students with the aesthetic and performance issues connected to the use of the Plumen 001 bulb and watching them conceptualize and evolve their responses was therefore very exciting for us to behold. How do you frame, shade and present the bulb in a pleasing and interesting way whilst still giving a view of the bulb's luxurious silhouette? The answers that came back were very varied, helping identify materials, concepts, contexts and whole narratives that showed deep design thinking in practice. Having given a bulb to all the students participating we also really enjoyed the hands on craft aspect too, seeing how students responded to the large scale and organic form of Hulger's product."
The students had six weeks to put a finished design together and participated in weekly feedback sessions with their senior lecturer Wyn Griffiths and one of the Plumen bulb creators, Tom Stables. The assignment culminated in a presentation to Nicolas (who was so impressed that he plans to work with the students again in the future).
What do you think—did they nail it?