2013 Sydney Design Awards

Plankton Lamp [DRAFT]


Project Overview

Inspired by ocean microorganisms ‘Plankton’ lamp is one of a kind.
Its light, intricate body is produced via 3D printing using durable nylon based powder and features a great amount of detail. The lamp uses LED light bulbs that consume minimum energy. Its surface is covered in flock that gives it that unexpected soft and velvety finish.
During the design phase the project has met multiple challenges and pushed 3D printing technology to its limits. Close collaboration with Australian manufacturers has brought the quality of the product to the new level. We hope that the end product will motivate consumers to search for more unique and unusual designs, not mass manufactured goods.



Project Brief

‘Plankton’ lampshade was inspired by amazing diversity of shapes and forms of oceanic microorganisms that collectively are called plankton. As small as they are these creatures produce half of the world's oxygen and play important role in maintaining a very delicate balance of our planet.
At MALINKO we got so motivated that decided to start a project called ‘MEGA MICRO’ that will create a number of highly detailed 3D printed light features that will help to raise awareness of these beautiful creatures.
The project also focused on:
- Creating first in the series light feature that resembles the actual living organism with as many details as possible.
- Using sustainable manufacturing processes, light and durable materials as well as light bulbs that save energy.
- Investigating the capacity of 3D printer as manufacturing tool of the end product.
- Motivating consumers to discuss and search for more unusual and intriguing designs pieces.

Project Need

Increase in mass-production over the past century has lead to extinction of many crafts and has resulted in design simplicity of many products. At MALINKO we hope that with this project we can continue supporting a trend that leads consumers away from mass manufactured goods and inspires more people to discuss aesthetics and design.
This project also experimented with the possibilities of using 3D printing not just as tool for prototyping but as manufacturing tool and the result was very promising. The lamp came out light, detailed and shape, that is not possible by any other manufacturing technique, was achieved. Now, to produce a new piece all we need to do is just press the 'Print' button!

Design Challenge

After initial sketching we knew that the design we had in mind was so complex, that the idea of using 3D printer as the main manufacturing tool came very quickly.
It took 4 month of solid modelling to work out the patterns, 24 different shape variations, close collaboration with manufacturers and 3 prototypes to get to the final design.
Identifying the most suitable material and correct 3D printing process was crucial for achieving the desired shape and finish. Finding a manufacturer that could produce a piece of that size was also a challenge.
Special lamp holder and rare braided and twisted cord were picked to match the overall look of the lamp.
The end product was flocked to achieve that soft, velvet touch that we were after. Flocking also allows custom colours that could be specified to suit any interior.


All electrical goods used for this lampshade were supplied and assembled by Melbourne studio. Flocking process was also done by local toy manufacturers.
Process of 3D printing is sustainable if used correctly and in this project we believe we achieved just that. It creates minimum waste and allows shapes that could not be achieved by any other manufacturing technique.
Another important aspect is that every new piece is produced on request which means there is no need for storage and products do not spend years collecting dust on the shop floor.

This award celebrates creative and innovative design for either a component or overall product. Consideration given to concept, originality, function, aesthetic, architectural integration and energy effectiveness.
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