Tubular Table Lamp

For SS18 I wanted to develop a new lighting collection based on some beautiful lights I'd seen at the Milan Furniture Fair. A previous range I designed for SS17 had been commercially successful and had also been featured in several magazines and publications. The Brass and Matte Black table lamp combines a brushed brass base and shade with matte black metal. This mixed material idea was the starting point for the project as I started looking for inspiration. The style of the collection is slightly mid-century but the matte black finish is contemporary. This broad appeal will be a factor to its success, so something I needed to consider when designing the new lighting for SS18.

 The Brass and Matte Black table lamp - a bestseller from SS17

The Brass and Matte Black table lamp - a bestseller from SS17

Material inspiration

Following on from the lighting I had seen in Milan, I set about gathering images and ideas of other lights and products that used mixed materials. I personally love marble and metal. The industrial effect of the brushed metal accentuates the natural veining of the marble. I've seen lots of products that combine these two substrates, so wanted to make sure my own design was something different.

Lighting inspiration

I decided to keep the same aesthetic that had worked so well for the Brass and Matte lighting collection, using a cylindrical metal shade with an adjustable head. The lights I'd loved so much at Milan had tilting adjustable heads, so this became my bench mark. 

Initial development

 Diamond pattern knurling

Diamond pattern knurling

 Close up of a Seiko divers watch with knurling on the crown and bezel

Close up of a Seiko divers watch with knurling on the crown and bezel

Most of my designs start on paper. I roughly sketch through different ideas and concepts until the best one sticks. In this instance I was focusing on the adjustable shade, and how this would look and work. I wanted to keep to the industrial aesthetic that fits within the French Connection branding, but also wanted it to feel high-end and premium. I started to look at different types of screw fittings that can be tightened by hand. I also looked at the different types of textures that could be applied to the metal.

Knurling is a manufacturing process, typically conducted on a lathe, whereby a pattern of straight, angled or crossed lines is rolled into the material. This finish gives a very tactile feel to the product, and is commonly seen on the crown and bezel of a watch.

3D Renderings

Using Rhino I created the basic 3D model of the floor lamp. I always think it best to model the design, when time allows, as it guarantees that the proportions are correct. Sketching is the quickest way to get the idea down on paper and to start working through the potential constraints of each design, but until it is created three dimensionally you cant be 100% sure that the dimensions and proportions are correct. Applying materials to the model help show the desired composition and helps illustrate the idea. 

Technical Drawings

Dimension drawing showing any specific details and required manufacturing techniques

Initial Prototypes

Once the factory have received the technical drawings, and they have worked through the costings, an prototype is produced. This initial sample will allow the factory to plan the production of the product and highlight any potential issues with the design or construction. For this particular light the original diameter I specified for the central upright was too small, so this had to be increased to 15mm to make sure it was strong enough to carry the weight of the 2 metal shades.

Once the prototypes where ready I travelled to the factory in Southern China to view them up close. This allows me to make any changes or tweaks based on the decisions the factory have made interpreting my drawing. This might be to change the spec of the finish, or the materials used, or to increase the guage or thickness of the components as necessary. 

Photography

 Tubular Table Lamp

Tubular Table Lamp

 Tubular Floor Lamp

Tubular Floor Lamp