A product can carry so much more than solely a beautiful aesthetic or functional purpose – it can carry a narrative so intriguing that it makes the device so much more desirable. The Subtle Lamp is a perfect example of this, as it uses Kenya Hara‘s philosophy of Emptiness and the research on Normality by Naoto Fukasawa to drive its design. The lamp relies on gentle user interaction to function; lifting the lamp’s head causes the light to turn on; this motion represented the sunrise, but is of course open to interpretation!
Rather than relying on glaring touchpoints that interrupt the seamless aesthetic, it uses its form to do all of the talking! The triangular shape of the lamp head hints towards the direction of travel, whilst the empty space that is left vacant when the lamp is turned on is a cue towards a space that requires filling.
Designer: Philipp Emrich for Gantri
“The bedside lamp is informed by my model of agency, geometric considerations, sensory communication and a sensibility towards the user‘s subjective authorship,” Emrich told Yanko Design.
“The light turns on when you lift the lamp head up and slowly fades off when you push it back to the base. This interaction can for example be understood as sunrise and sunset but it is open to the user to interpret it.”
“An object‘s Agency informs your Interaction with it. Agency is perceived through the afforded actions which the designer can emphasize by implementing cues. I designed the cues within the Subtle Lamp in the form of intuitive symbolism based on the principle of Don Norman‘s conceptual models.”
“The construction is informed by archetypical and modernist rules of geometry. This gives the bedside lamp a calm presence.”