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.




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