What I appreciate about creatives is their ability to see art and beauty in even the most mundane things. I’d venture that nobody’s ever looked at pencil shavings and thought “hey, there’s potential in this”, but then again, that’s where the design eye comes in handy. Nanako Kume’s Sharpener lampshades were designed directly inspired by pencil shavings… and no, her lampshades aren’t just simply shaving-inspired – they’re literally made from a massive pencil-shaped wooden block that’s been sharpened on a larger-than-life sharpener built by Kume herself!
“Since childhood, I was fascinated by the shape and fleetingness of shavings that are made when sharpening pencils”, Kume mentions. “I thought that by increasing the size and thickness of what must be discarded as waste, it would be possible to create new products while maintaining the beauty of the shape.”
Designer: Nanako Kume
Kume’s process includes a lot of interesting variables. She meticulously chooses wood types based on their grain, the shape of the wood block (which determines the shaving’s skirt pattern), the speed at which the block is shaved (which determines the coil shape), and finally the dye on the wood’s outer coating, which gives each pendant lamp its unique color accent.
However, the most impressive part of this sharpening process involves the actual massive sharpener that Kume built out, to help execute her vision. The sharpener is operated manually, using a rotating shaft that allows Kume to apply a turning and downward process on each wooden block.
The process is a decidedly unique one. Kume first forms the wood blocks into their desired shapes, after which they get dyed, steamed (to make them soft), and then finally sharpened. Once she’s happy with the shape of the wood shaving, it’s left to dry, after which fixtures are added to turn it into a pendant lamp!