Nature has been a source of inspiration for designers for centuries. The project’s brief was to design a lighting unit inspired by nature. The main idea was to create a design that captures the visual appeal, and ambience of the chosen inspiration, and to celebrate nature’s true beauty. In this project, form and function combine to create a nature-inspired design that is as beautiful as it is effective.
I was inspired by curly hair because of its interesting nature and unique properties. Also, because the world doesn’t appreciate curly hair as much as it should. These beautiful spiral strands come in different sizes, colors, and textures, and are a result of oval shaped hair follicles. As part of the design process, I started first by sketching several designs. Then I realized two three-dimensional 1:1 scale models, using plasticine, which helped me better visualize the form and size. To further test the form and function, I created 1:1 models using two different materials; glass and papier-mâché. The glass was formed through many attempts of glass blowing. The papier-mâché was formed using a soft metal net, copper wire, and paper.
The final product was hand made using brass, in a workshop in El-Moez street, in Islamic Cairo, Egypt. In order to achieve the desired curve, the brass tube was bent, cut into three parts, welded, sanded, and finished off to a nice polish. Small holes were punched in a uniform manner, as a depiction of hair follicles, and it is from where the light is reflected. I chose brass because it helped accentuate the shape nicely and compliment the curly hair concept. Moreover, It is a versatile and durable material that adds a rustic charm and edge to any space.
I received positive, as well as, constructive feedback on the project, from my professors and colleagues. I was able to look at the design from different perspectives, and it helped me get an insight of things that needed further development.