[re]design, a London-based social enterprise that propagates sustainable actions through design, showed Good & Gorgeous design at the London Design Festival in 2006, a great selection of eco seatings called Sit Up in 2007 and this year they looked at the bright side with an amazing lighting exhibition called Lighten Up.
[re]design invited us to "look beyond the bulb" by exploring the 64 switched-on domestic lighting solutions from the UK in their black tent at 100%Design last week, as part of the London Design Festival. As always, [re]design loves to shed light on the stories behind the products, by not just showing the finished pieces but also their manufacturing process. We found it very inspiring indeed. Carry on reading to discover our best illuminating picks based on a mix of new technologies, aesthetics, materials and interactions.Lighten Up featured some eco classics like the Sun Jar, which stores the sun's rays captured during the day with a photovoltaic cell to shed light when needed. Designer Jasper Startup was also inspired by jars and created beautiful table lights from discarded glass containers. Jar Jar (left image below) uses two per lamp: one for the base and one for the shade. The lower jar, which forms the base, is painted inside to add colour whereas the upper one is sandblasted to create a diffused glow from the CFL bulb. Jar Jar is a nice collection of table lamps where each one is unique due to the different kinds of reused food jars.
Jar Jar and Nesting Lamps, Images: [re]design
But Lighten Up is not just about [re]use, we also liked the section [re]source which featured examples of lamps made from renewable and sustainably managed materials. An example is the beautiful Eco Desk Lamp by Luminair, made form sustainably sourced walnut wood, anodised aluminium and LEDs and designed to make efficient use of left-over materials, minimalise transport weight and maximise desk space. Julia Lohmann, designer of the installation Catch, intrigued us with her curious-looking Nesting Lamps (right image above), made from Kelp! Rehydrating and stretching the raw material over geometrical forms achieve the desired shape and transparency.
Of course lighting design is not just about materials, but also about reducing the energy consumption. [re]design illustrates that "in the UK we waste £140 million a year by leaving lights on unnecessarily". Designs like the Wattson Monitor by DIY Kioto help people to reduce their energy bills by displaying instant electricity use from anywhere in the home. Rawstudio it is all about efficiency. Their new lamp Circa Light uses the latest LED technology (left image below), giving the lamp 100.000 hours of life, which is about at least 23 years of nightly use. This big flat-pack lamp made with minimum materials (3 flat aluminium strip hoops) was inspired by the designer's own Circa hanging chair.
Circa Light and Plumen, images: [re]design
Hulger founder Nicolas Roope wanted to tackle the not so attractive look of standard CFL bulbs. He believes:
If you want to persuade the public to use a new technology and to change their daily routines then you need to give them something to get excited about. Worthiness is as off-putting to some as it is motivating for others. To really drive change we need to offer tangible, affordable, and inspiring alternatives that make change feel like a progression rather than a compromise. Design has such a strong role to play in developing these alternatives.
Plumen (right image above) are the result of exploiting the flexible form of the glass tubing from which low-energy lightbulbs are made. They are basically a series of decorative CFL bulbs that do not need a lampshade, and only use 20% of incandescent light bulbs.
Check back soon for Part 2 of our best picks at Lighten Up. Lighten Up tours the UK, with the next stop being Newcastle's Design Event (18-26 October 2008). [re]design also welcomes venue suggestions if you'd like to have them near you. Otherwise visit the [re]design Lighten Up site for a full list of the 64 lighting designs. Via ::London Design Festival ::[re]design