Digital design and fabrication makes things possible that could only be dreamt of earlier. Dwell shows a lampshade that is not only designed using computers, but students at Ball State's Institute for Digital Fabrication wrote a program that modifies every single piece into a slightly different shape. Then it is assembled by hand. They start with a 3D idea, convert it to 2D lasercut mylar, and reassemble into 3D.
Why is this on TreeHugger? Because they make a lot of lampshade out of not very much material. One day you will download it and assemble it yourself.
The designers explain how it is done:
The profile curve of the shade is first generated in Rhinoceros and can be customized to any shape. A Grasshopper script interprets this curve, determines the number of components needed, and lays out each simple component with its necessary intersections. The parts are laser cut from mylar and hand assembled in descending order using a series of simple locking joints to link piece to piece and column to column. This produces a highly precise and strong shade that retains extreme detail and ornament.