Lighting Engines

I: Exploration + Research

These are all round lighting structures, yet their external elements differ. On the left, the light is lowered from the wall’s true height. In the middle, the light is very contained within the glass that diffuses it. On the right, the element of diffusion isn’t as restrictive. In the middle and right lights, the proximity of the light to the ceiling allows a halo of light to from around it on the ceiling.
These lighting structures project light on another surface. On the left, the light is not immediately apparent from far away, because its purpose is to illuminate the mural. This specific purpose is facilitated by the angle the light is set at. On the right, the lighting structure also projects light onto a surface. The projected light is continuous to the lighting structure, and allows the projected light’s reflection to illuminate the rest of the space.
These are all lightbulbs suspended by a pole. They all have a vaguely conical shape, but they give off very different feelings and aesthetics. On the left, the elegant curvature of the light makes sense in a cafe setting. In the middle, the simple structure that doesn’t attract attention functions well for a gym setting. On the right, the heavy duty metal encasings contrast against the glass lighting structures. However, they coexist in the “mismatched” convenience store environment.
These cylindrical lighting structures all function very differently. The one on the left projects from the ground, but the actual light comes from a middle segment. It projects a wide halo on the ground that helps navigation at night. The middle lights all rely on direct projection to the art store. The cylindrical lighting on the right projects light solely from one end. The other light attached to the wall projects light on walls that vary in angles, creating an interesting light beam.
Considering the on and off stages. One thing I neglected at this stage was how different papers respond to the same adhesives.
very thin, medium-fine texture when light illuminates it, true white color, medium-high diffusion
thin-medium thickness, rough texture when lit, neutral-pink color, medium diffusion
thin-medium thickness, medium-fine texture when lit, warm white color, medium diffusion
thick/stiff thickness, rough texture when lit, purple tone, medium-low diffusion

II: Sketch Models

III: “Alternative” Models

I decided to join the folds on the top to create a more tapered form.
I then experimented with ways to accessorize and cover up the lightbulb on top.
Pushing the stacking method → overlapping pieces. This creates a distinct hierarchy and separation in regards to how much light passes through depending on the number of layers of paper.
I realized that the matboard was accommodating to the scoring technique I adopted from the cardboard carriers project. The picture on the right shows how I used construction paper to create the dynamic rings to diffuse the light.
Compared form of the light to tentacles of a humboldt squid. Should idealize curves so that they resemble branches of a blue spruce.
Pediments in Greek Architecture. This is meant to inspire different forms of the chandelier’s structure.
Labor-intensive way to make curved paper: laminated wood method like in Eame’s chair. These structurally perfect curves are also present in the curved beams in Japanese architecture.

IV: Refined Model

Lights prioritizing the use of bounce light → simple chandelier forms → combining bounce light and chandelier form
L: Sketch for this model. I did not end up making the inner two strips because I couldn’t find a way to execute it given the odd number of “blades”. R: Sketch of a very angular chandelier. Made the “rings” more systematic by separating them and folding at right angles. I didn’t end up executing this idea because I preferred more curved forms.
L: I realized later that light can only pass through a small triangle at the bottom of the lighting engine. R: Using tracing paper to cover up the lightbulb.
A peer flipped over the light to create this alternative form. I think it garnered more positive reactions because the lighting engine doesn’t obscure a lot of the light. This gave me the idea to potentially make the structure on top wider so the papers that hang from it are less likely to obscure the light.
Some of the solutions that I came up with to maintain the general form of the chandelier but also allow more light to pass through.

V: Refined Model

I intended to use the slot in the matboard to lift the “blades” more so more light can get through, but my scoring technique got in the way and made the “blades” bend more (and still sag down) instead of lifting.
L: Covering the lightbulb by layering vellum. R: Using hot glue as a “quick fix” for the (still) uneven petals.
L: Artichoke light: uses curved paper-like material to spread light outwards. The way the pieces are angled creates a nice light gradient. R: Fresnel Lighthouse light: this demonstrates the concept of magnifying a small source of light.

VI: Prep for Final Model

Sketching out ways to incorporate the slit mechanism, chandelier-inspired form, and radial symmetry into a lighting engine that sufficiently diffuses the lightbulb’s light.
Using the petals to support/act for structure rather than from.
Using six types of paper to see how light passes through it.
Solution to covering up the lightbulb.

VII: Final Model

Construction paper stencil → 2 “+” sign” blades → align so that they are evenly spaced → glue together
I first used masking tape to secure the strips as I was testing if the Translucent Yupo would look good when applied to all eight blades instead of just one.
Folding the end of the strip at an angle + using a construction paper template to make sure all the strips are the same.
Some rough printer paper prototypes of ways to cover the top of the lightbulb. I made a few sketches to visualize them in context of the entire lighting engine.




Carnegie Mellon Design + HCI ‘23

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Elysha Tsai

Elysha Tsai

Carnegie Mellon Design + HCI ‘23

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