October 1, 2009
One for the Ages
Using time-tested structural techniques, Freshwest gives a classic form new life.
Amid Hong Kong’s building boom, old-fashioned bamboo scaffolding is still a common sight—an elaborate matrix of hollow rods that form astoundingly sturdy platforms. “It’s just a fascinating structure that they build,” says Simon Macro, of the Welsh design firm Freshwest. He and his partner, Marcus Beck, used it as inspiration for their Brave New World lamp, whose seemingly haphazard construction belies its strength and engineering logic. “We wanted to make something that was structurally strong out of small pieces of material and try to not think too hard about what the end product would look like,” Macro recalls. The result is a sculptural riff on the Anglepoise, with pieces of local oak pinned together by wooden pegs. But instead of using springs, found in most adjustable-arm lights, the designers counterbalanced the weight of the lamp with blocks of iron. “The nature of the construction and the use of the weights have a primitive quality that references the ancient world, like the Egyptians building the pyramids,” Macro says. Here he and Beck provide some background on Brave New World—available from Moooi—as well as a brief primer on physics.
Click the images to read Macro and Beck’s comments on the design.