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Dougong Light Fixture

Dougong Light Fixture

Jiaju Ma
June 24, 2017
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This wall mount light fixture is inspired by Dougong(斗拱),a traditional Chinese architectural element consisted of interlocking wooden brackets. Firstly designed in Rhinoceros, it is made of layers of laser-cut Baltic birch plywood. Assembled in a mortise-and-tenon fashion, it utilizes LED as its light source, while all the wiring, switches, and batteries are hidden within the wooden frames.

The idea of this project originated from the final project for my Spatial Dynamics studio. Growing up in Beijing, I have always been amazed by the intricate and stunning design of Dougong, and wanted to utilize its delicate structure to make a new design. The layering nature of Dougong is ideal for a light fixture design in that it generates a gradient of light when turned on, creating a sense of playfulness and imagination.

I rendered a preliminary model first in Rhinoceros, and then I made a sketch model based on the rendering with cardboard. Looking at the cardboard model, I went back to Rhinoceros to figure out and design the mortise and tenon mechanism for the final assembly. Each piece of the light fixture consists of three layers of laser-cut Baltic birch plywood, with curved-in tunnels for the wiring and opaque enclosed cubic space for batteries and switches.

It has been received very positively by my professor and my peers in school and on Behance. In the future I would improve on the wiring and power supply of the light fixture to reduce the number of switches and batteries to make it simpler to control and use.

Jiaju Ma

My name is Jiaju Ma, a student in Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program. I am studying Industrial Design at RISD and concentrating in Applied Mathematics + Computer Science and Classics at Brown University. I am interested in integrating art, design, ,mathematics, and computational technology to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

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