It stands at 9", projects up to 3,000 lux of warm light from its movable head. This is approximately equivalent to a 40W incandescent bulb. In its standard mode the Lamp’s dimmable LED will emit 1,000 lux of light for more than 18 hours on a single charge. And in the case of a power outage, the M Lamp will automatically illuminate with enough power to light up a small room, making it a useful companion in times of need.
A poetic lamp which draws on the collective unconscious, from miners lamps to boat lamps.
This is an obvious object that causes an immediate emotional connection.
An object that says color.
The M lamp is a wireless task light that can be transported anywhere within the home, office and in between.
It stands at 9", projects up to 3,000 lux of warm light from its movable head. This is approximately equivalent to a 40W incandescent bulb. In its standard mode the Lamp’s dimmable LED will emit 1,000 lux of light for more than 18 hours on a single charge. And in the case of a power outage, the M Lamp will automatically illuminate with enough power to light up a small room, making it a useful companion in times of need.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
What is important for consumers, where does lighting fall short given our daily constraints and how we live today? This was the core question which we set out answer when designing the M lamp.
We have become increasingly mobile in our pursuits with greater freedom to live and work in any place at any time. We have become nomads in this respect. This notion has permeated into our consciousness and we translate this into our daily habits from eating and sleeping to working and entertaining. We are using more and more portable devices as well as items that are easier to move around and more suited for use in various locations.
The challenge presented was to design a light that would align with how we work and live today while adhering to the following constraints:
- Innovative purpose-driven contemporary lighting
- A product which incorporates advanced technological applications and cordless technology
- A product designed to minimize environmental impact with an emphasis on efficiency and ecology
- Minimal design and high product quality
- Mobile and multi-purpose design suitable for office, living, family..
Since the advent of electricity most of our light sources have been fixed to certain points in the spaces we use. But as battery technology progresses along with that of LED light sources we no longer need our lights to be tethered to a power socket. They can be free from the constraints of an accessible power source without compromising on the quality of light output.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
My point of view was to create a new, innovative product, but one which took reference from our industrial heritage, specifically the industrial heritage of where I currently live and work in the UK - Newcastle Upon Tyne. To create a contemporary piece with minimal form which still had emotional resonance and reference to the past I drew a lot of inspiration from archetypal forms of lighting throughout history and in particular lanterns and portable light sources. Light sources which didn't require a cable trailing to a power socket in a wall. Ones which could illuminate a dark corner of a room, aid us in a power outage, help with carrying logs in from outside or simply to act as an ambient light source. Of course the light output from these would have been inferior but this needn't be the case today with newer technologies available.
One of the most important aspects of light is the atmosphere it creates. we use light to set certain moods within an environment, whether this is task driven or for general ambience. This was always a key factor for me in the development of the M Lamp, marrying the functional aspects with the overall experience the product would create, especially as the product was to be used in multiple environments. I think we have achieved this marriage both with the specification of the internal components but also with the emotional connection to the light through its familiar form and visual comfort.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
As a starting point I looked at lighting solutions from the past, when electricity wasn't available and where portability and functionality were key - mining lamps. There were 3 main inventions in regards to the mining lamp, each with a different take on the concept of creating a safe light source to be used when mining.
- Davy lamps, first used in Hebburn Colliery, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
- Geordie lamp, created by George Stephenson in 1816, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
- Carbide lamps, invented by Thomas Wilson 1892, sold his patent to Union Carbide.
The forms of these lamps have such a strong resonance with so many people across the globe and in particular that of Newcastle Upon tyne, which once had a huge coal mining industry with exports of around 400,000 tons a year in the 17th century. The idea of a contemporary play on the aesthetics and function of these historical icons to produce a small domestic lamp came about. As well as the archetypal form of the lamp, materials and manufacturing methods have been referenced and updated – aluminium metal spinning. Also elements of the functional nature of the mining lamp have been reappropriated for domestic use - handle for carrying and hanging in various positions, conical diffuser for directing light with a rotational head making the lamp versatile enough to be used as a task light, table lamp, floor lamp etc.
The M Lamp was more than 18 months in the making. From the beginning we knew the original design would present a set of important development hurdles. LEDs are efficient, but the direct angle of the lamp combined with the typical glare of LEDs requires advanced light diffusion technology to create the proper glow, but adding layers of diffusers significantly hinders battery efficiency by reducing the transmission of light. Developing and sourcing the right technology to balance these offsetting factors is one of the most significant innovation underlying the M Lamp. Without recent advancements of LED and energy storage technology the M Lamp would not have been viable, and we feel portable lighting can, as a result of these advancements, become an important and lasting trend in the coming years.
It was also important to have the M Lamp produced locally, while also maintaining costs by taking advantage of global manufacturing resources such as the production of certain electronics components. Parts are sourced locally whenever possible and the lamp is engineered, assembled and finished entirely in North America.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Throughout the entire design process an effort has been made to ensure efficiency and environmental awareness through the following considerations:
- LED applications (uses less energy)
- High performance and ecological materials
- Safe and recyclable batteries
- Durability and longevity (last longer, fewer replacements)
- Multiple applications (require fewer devices)
It is powered by an ultra-efficient LED, which is rated to last 50,000 hours, while its lithium iron phosphate battery can run 2,000 charging cycles with no loss in performance. The precision-manufactured components are made from high-grade aluminium and accurate joinery give the lamp a clean, quality finish.
The M Lamp has been engineered to stand the test of time. Everything in the lamp is designed to last more than 20 years in a bid to distance the product from a standard electronics good and align it more with the durability of the old miners lamps as well as to ensure design longevity. We see the M Lamp as a product which will be cherished by the owner. An item treasured for its usefulness as a tool for daily life and for its charming character!