Screw-shaped table lamp offers a unique and tactile way to control your light

There are some designs and interfaces that seem to be so intuitive that there’s almost no question about how to use them. Babies have an inborn knowledge on how to breast feed (even if they have no clue why or when), lever-type switches leave no doubt about what to do to turn something on or off, and the grooves on a screw’s body, a.k.a. its “threads,” hint that it’s something that needs to be rotated or twisted. These intuitive interfaces often have a fixed purpose and use, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be applied to something totally unrelated. This industrial-style table lamp, for example, uses not just the metaphor of a screw but even its mechanism to offer a more personal and direct way to dim or brighten your surroundings.

Designer: Jamie Wolfond

Even when it comes to appearances, the Set Table Lamp already sets itself apart from the crowd. Especially when its lampshade is at its lowest point, it looks nothing more than a gigantic screw standing on your table or shelf. Apart from the standard tall body and wide shade composition, it’s not exactly a design you’d expect from a lamp, even one with a striking industrial style. Unlike lamps that just let you look at it to appreciate its design, this one looks like it’s inviting you to interact with it, which is exactly the point of the design.

The lamp’s screw design isn’t just cosmetic but is actually a key part of its function. The light that comes from the lamp’s cylindrical body shines upward toward the lampshade and is bounced off to illuminate your surroundings. The shade’s shape isn’t typical either in that it’s a very flat cone with its tip facing downward instead of the umbrella-like shades of most lamps. This not only reflects light around the lamp rather than just downward, it also mimics the design of a screw head more closely as well.

Most lamps these days have a dimming feature that often requires turning the lamp on and off to cycle through different brightness levels. It’s an unintuitive and tiring method that leaves no room for finer adjustments. In contrast, the Set Table Lamp’s unique design works in its favor because you can simply turn the shade to lower or raise it, thereby dimming or brightening the light it gives off, respectively. And you do this not with a switch but with an easy motion of “screwing” the cap around the body’s grooves.

With today’s smart lighting products, such a design might seem impractical or even obsolete, but how many such smart lamps can boast of such a beautiful and “personal” lamp? The remote and indirect control of smart lamps takes out the human element in designs, somewhat ironic for products made for human living space. Set Table Lamp offers a more tactile experience that gives humans the feeling of agency and control that they are losing little by little to automation and AI.