Tag Archives: Royal College of Art



Advances in LED’s have allowed lights to slim right down; lighting design is no longer dominated by the shape of a bulb and the bulky electrics. The softer light emitted has taken away the need for a shade. LED’s embedded in the piece allow for more fluid and sculptural forms.Yes there will still be a need for our old bulbs  (see an earlier post Lightbulb on beautiful alternatives) but within new homes and commercial projects lights will become subliminal, glowing in whatever colour to suit our mood and environment.

Japanese company Kaneka’s light installation “Pieces of Light “ demonstrates the next generation of LED the OLED (organic light emitting diode) One of the innovators; they invited artists and designers to use their new generation of LED to create a Japanese Saki Bar. The effect was soft dappled wave of light that gently changed from red to orange and white diodes like petals of cherry blossom.  The piece may have been an art installation and incredibly beautiful but it also demonstated the practical commercial application – if the development in manufacture can bring the price down.Kaneka2

OLED may be a little way off into the future but LEDs are now, with  Flos displaying some amazing examples at Euroluce this year.


Wall Rupture by Thierry Dreyfus for the Soft Architecture Collection is a dramatic demonstration of the versatility of the LED. A huge rock fissure breaks open the wall creating a visual trick, golden volcanic light pouring out.


Ron Gilad’s Wall Piercing Lamp  (seen above in the background) slowly changes colour going through the entire spectrum. His sculptural 2620 Chandelier has been added to his range for Flos this year.

HanhsiChen-shadow_clock_01Royal College of Art graduate Hanhsi Chen combines LED technology with the ancient use of shadows to tell the time. A poetic use of light and shadow this small wall lamp is easily integrated into interior decoration.HanhsiChen-shadow_clock_03

Dan_Flavin-1973 untitledArtist Dan Flavin made the unloved fluorescent tube into beautiful works of art but with the incredible work of these designers they haven’t left that much space for the artists to explore!
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We use so much paper in everyday life – even in this digital age we still rely on paper for news, packaging, and all manner of print outs, the list is endless. Recycled paper reduced to a grey pulp doesn’t sound appealing but can be transformed in remarkable ways.

ParupuClaesson Koivisto Rune have developed two products made from DuraPulp, a mixture of pulp and PLA, (an oil-free plastic based maize starch) developed by Sodra. First came Parupu, a bright fun eco chair for children. Designed for the heavy wear and tear that a child’s chair is put through, its sturdy and yet extremely light and water resistent. Once finished with the chair is completely compostable; DuraPulp is a naturally derived material.

Claesson_Koivisto_Rune_w101_gruppNext as a contrast to the chunky chair, they have designed a sleek  light for Wästberg, launched at Stockholm Furniture Fair. The aesthetic difference as well the technical application demonstrate the breadth of potential in DuraPulp and shows that pulp doesn’t have to be grey.

Meesters_Pulp001Pulp 2.0 Post Consumer Vessels and Furniture by Jo MeestersThis work is a further development on his TESTLAB project that has been running since 2008. The original Pulp vessels were created using a mixture of newspaper and glue applied  to a vessel that acts as a mould. The new vessel is built up in layers before drying and finally being cut away. The cut pieces are joined with more pulp then the inside is treated with an epoxy resin to create a strong water tight product.

Meesters_Pulp_TableThis formed the basis of the Pulp 2.0 furniture collection where the potential for upcycling cardboard panels and newspapers to create paper furniture has been explored. Water resistant properties have been added to the paper waste to create a collection that doesn’t hide its origin; the collection retains the colour of the pulped paper. The collection consists of a table, chair, four pendant lamps and a cabinet.

Lehanneur-caveMathieu Lehanneur has designed a meeting room for advertising agency JWT turning it into a creative cavern with walls totally produced from paper fibres. The cavern is a visual reminder of just how much paper can be eaten up in every day work and how in the move to digital we can consume less.“It has literally sucked up and recycled the available paper in the agency, an archaic and useless support that JWT France eventually envisages totally eliminating.’”.  The pulp also provides excellent soundproofing, and is usually used for thermal insulating in eco buildings. Here it has been exposed rather than hidden to create a cave like space; a contrast to the sleek white interior.

Vetterlein-Trash Me-LampTrash Me Lamp by Victor Vetterlein The body of the lamp is made from the pulp of just four egg cartons mixed with water and poured into a mould. The intention behind the project was to create a product from waste, that could then be recycled at the end of its useful life.

Shannon_Metro_CabinetMetro Cabinate by Will Shannon was created as part of Will’s graduation work for the Royal College of Art. For  his Design Products Collection he explored the notion of what is a factory and how we create products. Metro is a result of found objects and a mix of skills. The main body of the piece is made from paper pulp that was moulded inside a found suitcase and the legs are traditionally turned pieces of wood.

“My ambition is to develop an informal factory whose disparate employees – professionals as well as enthusiastic amateurs – are spread throughout the city, at work in their own cabinet making production facilities: turning wood in the shed in Bermondsey, or making papier maché in the kitchen in Dalston.”

JensPraet_Frame_TableAlthough not quite pulp I think Jens Praet’s Shredded Collection  is worth a mention.  Skippings the pulping process and using shredded copies of Frame magazine its a great reuse of a wonderful if heavy magazine. Incidentally I’ve switched my subscription to the digital version and saved a fortune as well as a tree! But I just wonder that with the transfer away from printed paper to ebooks;  pulp will become a rare commodity before we have developed a way to reuse it en mass.


Here are 4 designs that allow you to divide your life into neat little sections. Well not that neatly, that would be rather ordinary and dull. Instead designers have created irregular abstract patterns out of tidy little compartments – organised chaos if you will.


Royal College of Art graduate Felix De Pass created Boundary Desk with the key storage elements slotting into the aluminium frame. I particularly like his bold use of colour to emphasis the different  shelves. The individual pieces, the draws, cable management and and also a privacy (not shown here) slot into the frame, which can also be made to the users required size. DePass_desk2

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullechave created a bathroom range for Axor that takes into account our own organising needs/ foibles.  The collection is not constrained by a rigid set of fixtures. With over 70 pieces in the collection the individual can build up the pieces as they need. Shown here separate shelves integrated into the basin allow the tap to be positioned where you like and additional shelves can be arranged freely.



In the kitchen Gitta Gschwendtner’s Drawer Kitchen for Italian brand Schiffini appears to be a stack of random boxes. Its only round the business side of the island uit where you would actually work that you understand the function of the piece. And it has been designed to be a functional piece although personally, I have my reservations. Yes it does function but it could also drive you crazy. I’m sure that those with the budget to buy it wouldn’t have the nightmare job of cleaning it. Imagine all those food bits that’ will get stuck. I’d also imagine that it would make a superb – if a little dangerous climbing “challenge” for toddlers. I’ve come over all practical; but to me the test of a gooddesign is its seamless integration into your life. I  find this too confrontational, I do love designs that visually smacks you in the face but not one that you’d just keep smacking into. I have to say though this is a concept rather than a production piece.


AF Designs created Elementi Cabinet, a sculptural handcrafted piece that’s is at the same time wholly functional.  AF_Designs_Elimenti_Cabinet2Panels have been covered in copper  that have been aged and treated in different ways to build up a mosaic. Two panels open to reveal cupboards and others are drawers, its a bit of a trick to discover how each panel opens. Its a beautiful piece that, with its use of material could sit as happily in a period house as  in a modern.


Modern architecture has often accused of  stacking  people on top of each other in a soulless little boxes. So it is a little ironic that this Hotel project by WAM architects in Zaandam Holland really has stacked a number of “houses” on top of each other. As yet there are no interior shots but its due for completion this Autumn. I would soooo love to stay there but I have a sneaky feeling its a little out of the way for Dutch Design Week. *runs off to check map of Holland*