A Semester Studying Light
Sophomore year at PhilaU concentrates on lighting design. The goal was to create a table lamp based on studies of light, shadow, and its effect on materials and the environment over the course of the semester.
I began by observing the light in my surroundings and luminaires produced by contemporary lighting designers. A trip to the galleries of SoHo provided a wealth of inspiration.
One of my early explorations in shadow began by cutting shapes into bristol paper to create defined forms in shadow when given a spotlight. A lamp was fabricated using bristol paper consisting of various orientations of eyes. I coded a sequence of LEDs driven by an Arduino board to produce a blinking effect in the shadows.
My next exploration in lighting design was in materials. After numerous trials and errors I narrowed my exploration to wires and cables and felt. The studies above are made of various gauges of armature wire and various types of electrical wires such as ethernet and charging cables (left) and run off from the manufacturing of felt furniture feet (right). Within the felt I placed translucent plastic cups over the light source to create a color effect.
Studies in form were done in paper and felt. I narrowed my design to an organic, overlapping form with light emanating from within to accentuate the gentle gradient of the felt emphasized by the variations in light and shadow created by the forms.
The felt luminair was created by sewing continuous patterns of felt intermittently and layering them over one another. The felt is suspended from a spider ring by thread and lit by an incandescent bulb from the center.
Fabrication, testing, and ideation
Color tests were done using a color changing LED bulb
The final design was chosen based on what I learned from the creation of the luminair. The lamp was designed to be displayed on a tabletop at a gala dinner. The light is created by white LEDs set into the recesses of the felt form. A sequential pattern of dimming is generated by an Arduino Uno board designed to mimic the ebb and flow of the form itself.
The construction of this model consists of a collapsible 3D printed spine structure. The wiring runs through the hollow chamber of the spine and out various exit points. The entire lamp is able to be deconstructed and packaged easily.
The pinches in the felt are created by snap rivets pressed into the felt sheet. The felt form is attached to the spine by alligator clips on the end of the arms branching off the central spine. LEDs are set into the recesses created by the snaps.