Dezeen Magazine

Phrena by Karl Zahn for Artecnica

American designer Karl Zahn has designed a flat-pack pendant lamp for American brand Artecnica.


Inspired by the pages of a book, the Tyvek shade comes flat and opens out automatically when lifted.


Here's some more information from Artecnica:


Designed by Karl Zahn
Artecnica Inc.

Upon manipulation this perfectly flat light fixture transforms into a beautiful 3-D shade. Created from the “simplicity of opening a book, the pages of this light work together to create perfect symmetry.” Artecnicas use of white tyvek once again creates a glow and adds warmth to any environment. Can be configured for up-lighting or down-lighting distribution.

Vermont born Karl Zahn, 1981, grew up playing in his father’s woodshop before moving to Providence  In 1999 to study Product Design at the Rhode Island School of Design; where he concentrated on fabrication and manufacturing. In 2002 he was lured by a history of industrial craft and balanced function and form to Copenhagen to study Danish furniture design.

In 2007 he moved to Brooklyn New York to concentrate his own Designs, which are grounded on function and problem solving. More recently a recurring theme in his work is old technolog y; based on the belief that the pace of progressing technolog y moves too quickly to fully exhaust all of the possibilities. He is interested in preserving these “Forgotten Technologies” by repurposing them into our contemporary lifestyles.

Amaranthaceae Gomphrena Globosa:

The flower which gives the Phrena its name. Making something out of nothing.

A book is an assembly of carefully ordered pages. The pages have a front and a back, but we rarely see both at the same time and it can be difficult to think of a page as having a third dimension. But a simple bend in a page can create both positive and negative volume. A crease creates inside and outside, walls and windows. It can be both permiable and opaque. All of a sudden, it has dimension and structure. A two dimensional page is not lacking dimension. Rather, it harbors the potential to transcend the third dimension and create volume out of space. But to complete a composition, one cannot rely on single pages alone. It is the cooperation of many that form the whole. And it is with this understanding and careful manipulation that something can be made out of nothing. Dimension can exist where there was none before. And with the subtlest of materials, we can shape things as powerful as light.

The book analogy was one of the goals that I had for the Phrena project. I wanted the assembly of the light fixture to be as simple as opening a book. It was to be perfectly flat to begin with and through careful manipulation, a three dimensional form would take shape. I was also attracted to the concept of the material simplicity becoming complex. There are so many perameters to play with that will alter the appearance and function of the light. But at the most basic level, it is a composition of pages all working together in symmetry.