Cardboard lights and lamps seem to embrace a form of defiance, contradicting the normal permanence and required fire-proof nature of lighting fixture designs. Where normal fixtures are often decorative, solid and stable, cardboard fixtures can be simple, permeable and flexible.
“This lamp comes as a box with all parts inside (bulb, plug, cable etc. + manual). You cut top and bottom yourself and then install. The cut out of the lamp shape functions as a graphical image of the lamp that could be inside the box, but is not.”
David Graas designs light-emitting objects that invert industrial design expectations and explore playful, interactive and do-it-yourself variations on traditional lighting designs. In some of his works there is a fair amount of assembly required, the object of such designs is as much process as product.
In other designs, Graas transforms traditional-looking shapes and shadows by cutting out a void from a solid and making light come through, rather than emit from, the physical gaps in a lamp. A two-dimensional piece of packaging becomes the object itself, ready to go with a bulb and a plug. Best of all, this entire strategy is not only creative but also eco-friendly: sustainable and recyclable cardboard boxes become the basis of the light rather than a permanent, heavy and hard-to-recycle mixed wood, metal and/or glass object.
“Having been a designer for over a decade now, I can look back and make some sense of what I have been doing and why. The drive for me has always been the creative process. How an idea takes shape in your mind first and then gradually materializes into a physical object. Making sure things like functionality, aesthetics and production all come together in a magic mix. And that the object tells the story without further explanation necessary. “
“The thing is, I don’t find objects themselves very interesting. Why get all excited over a chair, a lamp or a vase? It’s the process leading up to them that interests me most.”
“So, being more into processes then products, it is digital manufacturing that allows me to design without actually making stuff. I started using digital manufacturing for my cardboard furniture. Looking to design a piece of furniture that could be made everywhere. On demand. And to disengage the design and the making of an object. No more transport of products, but transport of data that can be turned into a product in a digital manufacturing workshop anywhere in the world. Whenever and wherever there is a need for it.”