Lighting Engines

For this project ‘lighting engines’, we were to make an object, the lamp, that uses simple electronics to emit light. We had to make a lamp that has on/off states, communication of use, consistency of form, and various perspective. We had to consider its intuitive interaction. We had to learn how to work with the electronics, such as battery, LEDs, and tilt switch. We were to use white paper stocks to build up the lamp. The purpose of this project was to learn the importance of the light and learn to design interactive forms. We learn to design an object that informs us of intended use and guide intuitively.


  • On/off states
  • various perspectives/orientations
  • communcation of use
  • consistency of form
  • paper (color, transparency, texture)
  • adhesives (glue, tape, folding, sewing, weaving)
  • size
  • number of pieces

What should you be thinking about?

  • Is the form appropriate to the task of producing light?

embeded language tells the user what to do

shape communicate what I do with it

  • What is the quality of light produced?

light directly into eyes: bad quality

reflecting, diffusing: good quality

  • Does it invite interaction?

example of a shape that invites interaction (on the right) and does not (on the left). Negative space on the bottom of the shape n the right invite an interaction to the user to lift the shape up.

I used two different papers to create the first iteration of the prototype. I am still figuring out the structural, visual part of it. I had the plastic like paper with four rectangles cut out and the rice paper put together and rolled it into cylinderical shape.

This is the second iteration. I had three pieces of paper folded and put next to each other.

The left one is the third iteration, which has an iPhone shape and light would turn on if I press the home button.

The middle and right ones are the fourth iteration, which would look like a box put in the box and it would turn the light on when I pull the inside box out.

Then I reconsidered the ‘interaction’ of the engine: a design that would lead the user to intuitively know how to use the object.

I was looking at my tabaret and then thought that would be a good idea.

So I started to work on the iteration that is a drawer form.

I decided to have the top drawer to have the light and the lower drawer to be the actual drawer to put things in. I attached the thin bristol like paper to emit the light, but it wasn’t so effective.

So I changed it to rice paper so that the emitting light is more effective. Also, I changed the handle of the drawer to be more engaing, looking similar to the one on our tabarets.

Figuring out the switch mechanism was difficult. I wanted it to turn the light on when pull the drawer out and off when put back in. I attached the light and switch on the back wall inside the drawer. I used a string made by paper to connect the switch with the drawer so that it would work. However, it wasn’t very perfect and it would not work at times.

When shooting, to put it in the context, I put my key and candies on the lower drawer.

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