Oct 20, 2016 | By Benedict
In an interview with Dezeen, designer Janne Kyttanen looks back on the 3D printed Lily light, a flower-shaped lamp designed at Amsterdam’s Freedom of Creation studio back in 2002. The laser-sintered lamp was an early example of 3D printing being used to create desirable, functional objects.
In the early days of the 21st century, 3D printing was far from the public eye. Although some manufacturers had been using additive technology for decades, mainly as a prototyping tool, “3D printing” would not become part of the cultural zeitgeist until years later. With that in mind, it is easy to see why Janne Kytannen’s innovative Lily light shone brightly when it was unveiled just after the turn of the millennium.
The 3D printed Lily light, designed by Kyttanen in 2002, might not cause much of a stir if seen in a collection today, but rewind to Milan Design Week 2003, and the Finnish designer’s modest creation was sending ripples through the design world. Here was an example of 3D printing being used to create something permanent, both a stylish item for the home and a shining example for a million future 3D printing projects. 14 years after its creation, the influence of the 3D printed lamp remains undimmed. Why? The designer himself has a few ideas.
Made from Nylon 12, a very fine powder used for laser sintering, the Lily light represented a big challenge for Kytannen. Not only was it unusual to create luxury household objects using 3D printing, it was also incredibly expensive to do so. As such, the Finnish designer had to create an object that was small and used minimal materials, but that was still visually captivating. "My whole inspiration was to create something very small, but something that would give a big impact into a space,” Kytannen explained.
In order to reduce material usage and costs, Kytannen designed the 3D printed lamp with extremely fine “petals” which glow when the light is turned on. According to the designer, this internal illumination of the lamp’s 3D printed components fascinated attendees of Milan Design Week, propelling his laser-sintered creation into the spotlight. “When people saw the Lily for the first time, I felt that they were mesmerised by the 3D technology,” Kyttanen said. “But the public could also afford it.”
This combination of beauty and affordability made the Lily light, and many 3D printed household items designed in later years, particularly appealing. While the 3D printed Lily light is currently available in various versions (floor or table, various sizes, €391+) through Materialise, Kytannen initially envisaged makers downloading the digital files and printing the item at home. “My point was to create a commercially successful product and pave the way for things to come in 3D printing,” the designer said. “I wanted to create a future concept for when people could, one day, download 3D data in their living rooms and 3D print them.”
14 years after the creation of the Lily light, and Kytannen’s vision has more-or-less come true: there are several online platforms where people can download 3D printable furniture and other items, often for free. Looking back, Kytannen can be proud that his Lily light, a simple flower-shaped 3D printed lamp, helped to bring that vision to reality.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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