I met Anthony Dickens at Clerkenwell Design Week, where he was launching Tekio, his modular lighting system inspired by traditional Japanese ‘chochin’ paper lamps. I was keen to find out how the product had come about, so I have been talking to him since in order to bring you this “here’s one I made earlier” post. First up, a short film overview of the design and making process…
Working on an exhibition about spheres, Anthony was reminded of the chochin paper lanterns he’d seen in Japan. While playing with these the idea to adapt them (Tekio is Japanese for adaptation) into something modular came quite quickly, although it then took six weeks to find the right materials that would work with paper and bamboo. They simplified the process, using just one sheet of paper.
First, a jig is assembled around which the bamboo will be wrapped, so this element dictates the basic shape of each module. The jig is made from a combination of wood and acrylic which slot together and are secured with elastic bands.
A small hole is then drilled into the end of the jig into which one end of the bamboo is glued. This holds it secure. The bamboo is then wrapped around the jig, working from left to right. It needs to be tight enough to sit in the grooves created for it on the jig, but not so tight that the piece looses its cylindrical shape and starts to become octagonal.
Once wrapping is complete, the loose end is glued into another drilled hole to secure it in place at the other end. The next step is to apply the paper.
The sheet of paper is covered with glue and carefully rolled onto the bamboo. It must be sprayed with water and have any creases brushed out as it’s rolled to ensure it adheres with a smooth finish.
Then the whole thing goes into this rather space age ‘drying wardrobe’ for half an hour to allow the paper to dry out.
The elastic bands are removed, which enables the jig to be carefully taken from inside the paper tube. The tube is then hung overnight to ensure it is completely dry.
Once dry, the paper is creased and each shade is tied and again left overnight. Any additional paper is carefully removed with a scalpel and the magnets and metal contacts are glued in place. The modules can then be assembled together in any combination you can think of. Anthony let his imagination run wild for his stand at Clerkenwell Design Week.
(Thanks to Jim Stephenson for the above and below photos.)
Further reading for the especially geeky: