Fireflies is a lamp that we have been wanting to make for quite sometime now. Initially we had experimented with green and blue glass bottles. That was around 2 years ago. But as we used incandescent lamps then, it created a lot of heat, enough to melt the wires away.

So this time we decided to use LEDs instead. The idea here is to fill out a defined space with lights. And its called Fireflies as that’s the kind of effect it produces.

Technically, its a 10″x10″ translucent Plexiglas cube with 70 bright white LEDs inside, which tend to sway from time to time creating a slightly different lighting experience every time.






Embodiment and physicality are pretty tricks concepts to design around. When I started thinking about embodiment, I started thinking what is it that makes me realise the most that I have body. And the answer is pain or discomfort. And somehow the first thing that came up in my mind was the difficulty I have in sitting crossleged over extended periods of time. And back in India, when I go visiting people, a lot of time one is expected to sit crossleged. And within 5-10 minutes I start becoming uncomfortable.

So I decided to make something that would help sitting crossleged for a long time, providing good support for the back as well.

And thats what “Gamcha” does. Essentially its a long piece of cloth, which if used properly can provide very good lumbar support while sitting down crossleged. Gamcha in Hindi actually means a peace of long cloth.

In order to use it, you would wrap it around your back, and then slide it through the legs in the front.

You can regulate the tension in the gamcha by sliding it back and forth through your legs. And once you build up properly tension in the cloth, it makes a pretty comfortable chair.


Ever since the last assignment I have been fascinated with the vinyl cut letters. I feel they are extremely empowering and very useful. I used a bunch of them to write a nice quote on one of the walls at my house recently and it was really fun to doing all the letter and word spacing manually.

The theme for this week was open source and open software. So while going through things in my head, one thing came up which I always wanted to do and somehow had never found the time to do it.

In my house, we have many of these electricity pipes that run along the wall. So a few days back me and my wife decided to paint them bright red, just to give them importance and to brighten up the place. And some how it seemed to make almost perfect sense to have one of the characters from our collection of figures to be climbing up those pipes. So Bendy (Name of the character) had been on one of those pipes for a long time in our house. And sometime back we had spoken about this, that “Wouldnt it be nice to just have a bunch of numbers from 1 to 31 put next to him on the pipe and then we could move him up and down to indicate the date of the month.

And thats how “Kalie” came into being.

So here are a few things that you need to make your own.

1) A plain wall with an electric pipe. Something like the image below. Its not required to color the pipe though.

2) A bunch of vinyl cut letters. You could use the same size and color. But I had a two sheets left and had to mix and match them to complete the numbers.

3) Your favorite figure. A simple note here. In case your pipe doesnt have any space between itself and the wall, you might need to add a magnet to the figure to make sure it sticks to the pipe well.

So first mark out your distances on the wall.
Then start sticking the numbers as you wish, just make sure you have enough distance between them for your figure to be able to point at the correct date.

Once you are done sticking the numbers, put your figure on and you are all done. Position the figure to point or indicate the current date, which in this photo is the 22nd.

Below are some more pictures of the same.

Have fun making your own Kalie.

Time of Light

The theme for this week was energy, ecology and sustainability. When I start thinking about my connection with energy, the first thing that comes to mind is the absense of the same, which is ever to frequent back in India. We used to have power cuts for almost an entire day every week. Also with the first drop of rain, the electricity would go off. Which would create these interesting opportunities for an impromptu candle light dinner.

Hence when I started thinking about energy, I was drawn towards making something that does not use electric energy at all, and I still wanted to make a lighting piece. Hence the obvious choice was to go for candles. I tried coming up with a lamp shade, or some other lighting using a candle, but couldn’t come up with anything that was interesting or possible within the time span of a week.

So that brings us to the piece. I somehow have this inclination to makes things functional. Hence “Time of Light” is basically a candle clock.  It allows to measure the time since the candle was lit through the shadows of numbers.

Once you light up the candle, you mark on the wall the starting position of the line of “0”. And then as time passes the candle moves down and the shadows move up. So after an hour, you should be able to see the line of “1” at the point where you marked on the wall.

Other than giving an idea of the amount of passing time, it also creates a very interesting and flickering visuals on the wall.

It can also be used as an alaram by sticking a pin in the candle. When the candle melts away to the point where the pin is, it would release the pin, causing it to fall and make a sound.

The image below shows the candle with the pin.

Draw the connection

This week for softness of things, we were to work on the theme of connections and connectors. My immediate reaction was to started thinking of uncommon connectors and hence I started thinking about how I could use air, water, etc as connectors. But couldnt come up with a product around them.

Then I was reminded of a project that I once saw at RCA, which used graphite as a connectors, and hence I started thinking of things around graphite and drawing with pencil to make connections.

After a few attempts I figured that no matter how dark I drew the links, it would allow only a very small amount of current to go through, and hence I would not be able to drive an LED directly with it. I could have read the values into an arduino and processed them, but I wanted to keep it simple and avoid arduino if possible.

To the rescue came Op-amps. I had never used them before this project, but had recently learned about them in another class, and I must tell you, I love them. Op-amps are great.

So the final product is a cube light, which instead of having a switch has two check boxes that the user puts a check mark on the side to put it on and erases it to put it off.

The cube could be lit in blue, red or both the lights.

The images below show the cube in its on and off conditions.

On the technical side the op-amps are used in a non-inverting mode, so that on receiving the slightest bit of voltage from the connectors, it lights up the leds.

A photoset of connectors for the same assignment could be found here.


Modularity is a very interesting theme. The more I think about it the more I find it ever so present everywhere and in everything. After all everything is a module of some larger system, its all about the reference. Reminds me of the movie Powers of 10 by Charles and Ray Eames.

Amaltas is a Lamp shade made of a very simple hexagonal module. I knew that any hexagonal structure would tesalate in 2 dimension, hence I started exploring various modules in flash, for the ease of modifying all instances by modifying the main movieclip.

The images below show some of the different patterns formed

I finalized on the last pattern, as it generated a nice floral effect.

The next thing to resolve was the joiner. Initially i wanted to just make two half cuts and slide them into each other, but that wouldnt be stable and strong, hence I decided to make two outer cuts on one side and a central slit on the other, so that sides could be folded and slid into each other.

The images below show the progressive growth of the pattern.

The images below shows the smaller version of the lamp.

The images below show the longer version of the lamp.

As the lamp is modular, it allows for creating various different sizes and shapes using the same module.

I couldnt come up with a good name for the lamp earlier, but when I completed the longer version, it was pretty apparent that it reminded me of one of my favorite flower, which is called Amaltas in Hindi, and hence the name.


Cactus is the first lighting in the series “Bending light”.The emphasis of the design is how light could be made to travel and change direction, essential bending the beam of light.

Cactus is an elegant table light that challenges the common perception that light travels in a straight line. It provides ambient light as well as, focused directional beam useful for indirect lighting. Using a minimum of materials and components, it is surprisingly simple but provides a spectacle rarely found in such an everyday domestic lighting product.

Light travels from a light source embedded in a small base through optical quality, precisely bent, transparent acrylic rods and eventually culminates in a bright beam. Modularity allows for creation of different structures as per the users needs.

Part of the project was also to create a brochure or advertisement for the lamp.
The images below show the front and back of the postcard for Cactus