Light has been an essential element for the life from the beginning of history. Light affects both physical and psychological conditions. Human culture has developed in parallel with the innovation and control of the light, changing behaviours of the people, society and lifestyle.
Technology developed in recent years has allowed for the miniaturization of components including batteries for energy storage. This innovation has opened up new design scenarios; the meaning and possibilities of these technologies in relation to contemporary life and behaviour need to be considered. On one hand, there are new opportunities that were impractical with artifical light until recently. On the other hand, we know well that mobile and portable light was a prerogative for millions of years until the invention of the electric light.
We also know that since the invention of the lamp, (which is simply a “light bulb” connected to a cable with two poles coming from electrified points) lighting fixtures are divided between different typologies: floor, ceiling, wall, and table. In product design, considerable attention has been dedicated to the lighting fixture in terms of form but also with the intention to “free” the light from the technical and functional constraints of the electric cable. Surprising mechanical and structural inventions have been invented. There are many of examples of table lamps from great designers who have been challenged for more than a century, inventing of knots, joints, springs and arms that, laboriously managed the electric cables to allow more and more degrees of freedom of movement.
The search to “free” the lamp from the cable constraint represents a strong design requirement, which today has became possible. What are the contexts, the micro-environments where the use of this technology creates new and innovative solutions?
The collection aims to investigate the environmental contexts where the use of mobile, portable and rechargeable lighting devices can be interesting, functional, useful, plausible and comfortable.
Students identified a series of new types of portable lamps similar to the traditional ones but which, unlike these, will have a close relationship with human behaviours. Our attempt is to free the light from the spatial elements that have been the constraints of traditional cable lamps (wall, table, floor, ceiling).
They investigated the home environment in search of every-day actions and their needs, identifying a specific context to explore. These actions have been then broken down and analyzed, in a dimension closer to the body, taking into account the micro-environments and the complexity hidden behind apparently simple gestures. All these information have been collected in maps and infographics.
As expressed in our description: “(...)the tools that leave room for the interpretation of how and where to use them”. The aim of this collection is to define a new perspective, where the lamp follows human behaviour and not viceversa. What is challenging about this task is that possibilities are endless: If we let go of electric cables’ limitations, lamps become multifunctional, metamorphic and chameleon-like.
During the workshop students have witnessed to the birth of a series of dynamic objects that are almost “alive”, that complement human actions in a changing environment (the house). New ways of living finally come with new ways of lighting.