SUTAKKU: the light fixture

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN  /  BRAND IDENTITY

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IN SHORT

In the summer of 2013, I attended a month-long design immersion course at Cornell University's department of Design and Environmental Analysis. It allowed me to explore many design disciplines and work intensively with the Adobe Creative Suite.

At this program, our class was posed with the challenge of designing a light fixture solely out of paper that creatively manipulated a lightbulb to produce comfortable lighting. The name of the fixture I designed and built is Suttaku. Its name comes from the Japanese word "stack" due to the fixture's main characteristic of having stacked, graduating trapezoidal tiers. It went through three iterations before arriving at its final form. I also designed its logo and packaging.

From this summer, I was able to determine that I wanted to pursue a career related to product design, as the projects I worked on showed me how much I thoroughly enjoyed the ambiguous yet rewarding design process.

 

THE FIXTURE

 
Each trapezoidal tier is constructed using this method. Three 2D cutouts of trapezoids with the same measurements are bound together by their diagonal sides, which ultimately creates a 3D trapezoidal tier.

Each trapezoidal tier is constructed using this method. Three 2D cutouts of trapezoids with the same measurements are bound
together by their diagonal sides, which ultimately creates a 3D trapezoidal tier.

 
 
1st Design:   stablishment of trapezoid and stacking themes.

1st Design:

stablishment of trapezoid and stacking themes.

 
 
2nd Design:   Repeat pattern of 1st Design several times,  tiers gradually get narrower towards bottom  f the fixture.

2nd Design:

Repeat pattern of 1st Design several times, 
tiers gradually get narrower towards bottom
f the fixture.

 
3rd Design:   Essentially the 2nd design now flipped upside down, as the tiers now gradually get wider towards the bottom of the fixture, more natural shape that would better manipulate the light.

3rd Design:

Essentially the 2nd design now flipped upside down, as the tiers now gradually get wider towards the bottom of the fixture, more natural shape that would better manipulate the light.

 
 
Derived from the simplistic structures of pagodas, Sutakku both reflects and traps light. Its various sized trapezoidal tiers only allow soft light to escape from the edges, as the rest gently glows from within.   From this model of the final design, you can see how the placement of these tiers prevent any harsh light from leaving and instead project the light from the bulb upwards against the fixture itself.

Derived from the simplistic structures of pagodas, Sutakku both reflects and traps light. Its various
sized trapezoidal tiers only allow soft light to escape from the edges, as the rest gently glows from within. 

From this model of the final design, you can see how the placement of these tiers prevent any harsh light from leaving and instead project the light from the bulb upwards against the fixture itself.

 

 

THE LOGO

My main focus for the logo was to reinforce the theme of "stacking trapezoids."

During my brainstorming session, I encountered the prominent problem of making the trapezoids form the STOP symbol (as seen above in the logo with the red trapezoids). I needed to find a way to still communicate the idea of trapezoids being stacked in this position with a more original form.

To deviate from this existing STOP symbol, I decided to line the trapezoids up diagonally instead of vertically. I thought it best utilized the stacked and trapezoidal themes. It also made sense because I thought it conveyed the fact that each tier was placed at a different angle from one another. 

 
Final Design

Final Design

 

THE PACKAGING

For Sutakku's packaging, each trapezoidal tier of the fixture can be taken off and folded down into a single, 2D trapezoid. These 2D pieces of folded paper then neatly file into this trapezoidal container like folders in a filing cabinet.

t is 6" x 2.5" x 2" at its widest point and can hold a full sized lamp. The instructors of the course awarded it as the best packaging design of the class due to its ability to contain the fixture in a uniquely compact way.

 
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