With DENFAIR just around the corner practicemakes_ speaks to ISM Objects’ director, Simon Christopher, about design, technology and the future of lighting.
Some of the lights you are showing at DENFAIR were designed 25 years ago – what do you see as the key to designing something that endures for over a quarter of a century?
The original Fab Lamp was an amalgam of so many design ideas when it was first released – a flat packed gift, a self-assembled item that required no screws or tools, a collection of unexpected materials from coloured cast resin to stamped polypropylene but above all it functioned really well as a lamp.
Long after Fab was assembled and the thoughtful eco packaging was discarded, it kept going on year after year providing beautiful atmospheric light. We sold lots of Fab lamps and the army of followers still call us today for replacement parts to keep them in service.
Can you describe the process of re-engineering something to a new technology without compromising the aesthetic? Clearly it is not a matter of plugging in an LED…
Times change and materials change and a straight re-edition of Fab didn’t feel right. We literally went back to the drawing board to research the latest lamp technology to provide great light output and minimal power usage. Fab 25 is powered by an internal rechargeable battery – so we have cut it loose and made it completely portable.
What are the new technologies you are embracing, and where to next?
Apart from the portable electronics for Fab 25 and Wink table lamps, we are embracing the latest LED digital technologies that allow our fittings to dim with ease and change colour to achieve the perfect illumination.
Does the concept of adaptation to technologies make for a more sustainable product and business?
Technology can be a blessing and a curse for designers.
Cloud collaborations make it easier for business to operate no matter where we are. Software enables us to realise components and how they fit together within seconds. Furthermore 3D printing can be utilised to combine parts and rapidly prototype components that reduce material costs for a more sustainable design.
But sometimes all these high speed improvements are at the expense of thoughtful design. We have a ‘slow food’ movement so maybe ‘slow design’ is the next big thing.
Exploring new products that have both relevant and enduring design qualities is our sustainable focus for the future.