"We need to redesign our thinking
with LED lamps" - Marcel Wanders

| 4 comments

Dutch designer Marcel Wanders discusses how he overcame the challenges of using LED technology in his new lamp for Moooi and defends the high cost of design products in this movie Dezeen filmed in Milan

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders
Flattering by Marcel Wanders at Moooi's Unexpected Welcome exhibition Milan

Wanders' new lamp for Moooi is called Flattering and features an ornate copper-coloured frame that supports 32 LED lights enclosed by tiny individual transparent lamp shades. It was on show as part of Moooi's Unexpected Welcome exhibition in Milan.

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders

"With LEDs we need to redesign our thinking about what to do," says Wanders of the challenges of working with the technology.

"You have these little lights, but each of them is very sharp. If you want enough light in an LED lamp you have to put them together and [if] you have a lot it [will] blind you completely. One of the solutions is to put these little lights further away from each other."

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders

Normally, spreading apart so many individual LEDs would result in a lot of messy wiring to power them all. However, Wanders explains that Moooi has developed its own proprietary technology called Electrosandwich, which allows the LEDs to be powered directly through layers of conductive material within the frame.

"Here we have developed a patented technology which makes it possible for us to put lights anywhere we want without putting special cables and fittings," he says.

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders

Wanders then goes on to defend the high cost of products that design companies like Moooi produce.

"If Moooi makes a design, the company doesn't only make this object in a really good way, with the right materials, with the right techniques and with the right perfections," he says."It also did all of the development. To get there is really difficult."

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders

"You will always find that the companies who copy something sell only the things that sell really well," he continues. "A company that does design has to also find a way to make it's margins for all the other things that fail, which is part of design."

Wanders concludes: "Ultimately, an original design product will have a cost higher than its copy."

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders

Wanders also believes that owning an original product rather than a copy is important.

"If you want an authentic life, if you want to be an authentic being then you want to connect with with your surroundings,' he says.

"My grandfather used to say 'show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are.' Show me your surroundings and I'll tell you who you are."

"With LED lamps we need to redesign our thinking" - Marcel Wanders

We also filmed interviews with Wanders about Moooi's Unexpected Welcome exhibition in Milan, as well as about his new Dressed watch for Alessi.

Wanders also features in this movie about the phenomenon of copying in design.

See all our Milan 2013 coverage »
Watch our Dezeen and MINI World Tour video reports from Milan »

  • Def

    Rubbish. Waste. Who needs a lamp design like that?!

    • beatrice

      I don’t know, I quite like it. It’s pretty. “Better than a kick in the teeth” as my Mum used to say. I don’t think “need” comes into lamps does it?

  • napoleon

    Irrelevant and kitsch.

  • Douglas

    I hate it, but agree with Beatrice. It so annoys me when designers protest that a lamp is just functional. Light does so much more than illuminate.

    As well as requiring it to see, we humans react to light emotionally: fireworks, stained-glass windows, moonlight, fairground lights, candlelight, a warm sunny day, the wonder of the firefly, effective cinematography, the novelty of a lava lamp, the cultural connotations of big city neon lighting, the fun of shadow puppetry, the beckoning glow of a bonfire…