High-Fidelity Prototyping: 'Lattice Lamp'
Above: Close-up of 'Lattice Lamp' in ambient mode with backlit lighting. Students took advantage of the dexterity of laser cutting to create this intricate 'Moorish' grille.
Above: Contextual shot of lamp resting on night table in vertical mode. The lamp can be positioned in multiple configurations.
Above: Exploded assembly view of the lamp showing modules and electronic components.
Task: For this final project, students were commissioned to design and fabricate a desk lamp. Working in small teams of three, the project team focused on taking advantage of rapid prototyping technology for this project. For this project, fabrication was constrained to using acrylic and ABS (3D printing) with a minimum of handicraft.
Secondly, students were asked to consider the quality of shadow as well as light as part of the design brief.
Design Focus: I relayed my expectation to students that this would not merely be a styling exercise. Students would need to 'think out of the box'. This was reinforced through the numerous conversations that I had one on one with the teams throughout the project. For example, the team who worked on the 'Lattice Lamp' at left initially came up with an idea for modular unit composed of two rectangular boxes and a reflector that could be stacked to create various configurations. The problem here is that the treatment of light was an afterthought.
The form factor as it was was also very bulky and top-heavey. In our discussion, I suggested to the team that the bulk or overbearing mass of the form could be broken up by adding a grille or screen. Adding a screen would also create attractive light and shadows. Based on my advice, the team iterated a variety of grille patterns and styles. They eventually settled on a pattern based on Moorish design elements. The final effect was a blend of soft shadows and light. The geometric pattern also acted to soften the harsh, rectilinear edges of the lamp housing/form factor.