Without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair is always the Designboom Mart, a colorful, commerce-minded exhibition of 30-plus designers from across the globe testing out their new designs on the market for the very first time. And by testing out, I mean selling. (Interesting side story: Takeshi Miyakawa, the Brooklyn-based designer who provided a light installation for the exhibition, was arrested during NY Design Week for suspicious, light installation-related activities).
This year’s Designboom Mart was particularly ripe with quirky goodies including shipping pallet coasters from Spanish firm Labyrinth and upcycled milk crate stools from New Jersey-based Combo Colab. I managed to score myself perhaps the least eco-friendly, most ridiculous thing for sale: tortilla chip-shaped, nacho cheese-scented memo notes from South Korea’s Peco Mart. I just couldn’t resist.
Another popular item at Designmart seemed to be cute wooden popsicles from Johnny Herrmann, the alter ego of Italian designer Mauro Savoldi. In addition to wooden popsicles, Savoldi is responsible for the 4 Watt Wooden Lamp, a collection of 50 incandescent-shaped lamps handmade from a variety of woods including pine, beech, and alder. The clever — and completely non-functional — wooden bulbs were shown as an installation (and for sale) at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair.
Savoldi’s 4 Watt Wooden Lamp concept got me thinking: what if there really was such a thing as a working light bulb made from wood? Impossible, you say?
As I found out this week, no, it’s most certainly not as Osaka-born designer Ryosuke Fukusada’s Wooden Light Bulb prototype has positively been blowing up around the interwebs, delighting and mystifying some while prompting others to double-check the batteries in their smoke detectors.
The Wooden Light Bulb — to be clear, it did not show as part of ICFF/NY Design Week — is actually an LED bulb completely encased in a super-thin wooden shell that Fukusada created using a traditional Japanese craft technique called Rokuro. The fixture’s incandescent-shaped body is chipped so thin — it does, however, appear to be solid like Savoldi's wooden bulbs when turned off — that when the lamp is switched on, it does indeed glow from within. Magical!
Boasting an aluminum base, the Wooden Light Bulb is totally safe (although probably not that practical for actual lighting purposes) as LEDs, unlike incandescents, produce a very small amount of heat. So not to worry folks, the bulb isn't a nightmarish, dangling fireball in disguise.
In addition to being energy-efficient and crazy beautiful, the Wooden Light Bulb is also deeply symbolic:
“The traditional craft technique is the real value behind the bulb. More than just a lamp, the bulb means to preserve cultural heritage and man’s timeless link to his true roots, nature. It was wood that gave light and heat to the oldest of civilizations. This lovely illuminant contrivance is perhaps symbolic of that golden age.”
Again, the Wooden Light Bulb is still in the prototype stages, although according to Fukusada's website it's being further developed so perhaps someday you'll be able to own one yourself (I can picture Starbucks stores snatching these up by the truckload). For now, you'll just have to settle for this.
Still perplexed as to how this all works? Let Mashable explain ...