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Craft System, the new lighting collection by François Chambard of UM Project, might just be the most imaginative interpretation of a lamp I’ve ever seen. When all the lamps are lined up side by side they look more like characters from a children’s story – think Wall-E’s progeny – than even the most inventive lighting on view at WantedDesign during NY Design Week. François describes the collection as one basic form with multiple variations. The most basic variation in the system, the Atum Lamp, has a Corian base in black, grey or white with a shade of either a fabric mesh or powder coated satin brass. There are two options for the light source, either an LED grid or four small incandescent light bulbs (both are operated with a built-in dimmer switch), and you can choose the table top variety or make it into a floor lamp with a wooden ash base.
But the similarities end there. The other variations François has come up with turn the basic lamp into a clever and playful lighting device with a prominent second function, like growing a plant or playing the theremin, that strange, UFO-sounding electronic rod instrument. Some other variations have a packed grid of tiny light bulbs or a brightly colored shade. The variations are only as limited as your imagination, and I know François is currently cooking up a few more ideas.
His other work has what you might call more standard applications, but whether he’s designing a small Milking Stool or an entire sound recording studio, his meticulous attention to material and craft and his unique combination of modern technology and handmade elements remains constant. See all his work and check out my visit to his Brooklyn studio.
Photos by Francis Dzikowski/Esto