What medium is open to more creative opportunities than light? The combination of functional illumination and unique decoration was irresistible when considering a shakeup in my home office lighting. This small lamp project metamorphosed into a foray into 3D printing and computational design focused all around light.

The premise was fairly straightforward: make a lamp shade to disperse the harsh direct glare of a bulb. Revisiting my brief experience with 3D printing from a few years ago and following a diversion into computational design that included diffusion reaction simulations and variable tesselation across 3D geometry turned the project into more of an exploratory laboratory.

Iterations of the form followed a wide arc

The experimental iterations cycled from fairly simple geometric patterns to complex primordial forms and back to refrained shapes that could actually be manufactured with the tools available and my limited (but growing!) knowledge of 3D printing processes.

Steps in the development of one coral-like iteration of the lamp shade
A variety of forms from organic lattices to precisely positioned cutouts

Compared to the modelling experiments, the actual 3D printed lamp shade ended up relatively tame. Learning the ins-and-outs of the material and 3D printing process required a conservative design this time around but yielded a much better understanding of what is possible for the next project!

The final 3d printed lamp shade along with print failures of earlier iterations