Though plant-based diets may be all the rage for the health-conscious, designers have similarly embraced the possibilities of natural fibres. Most recently, the award-winning studio Ammunition has leveraged San Francisco digital manufacturer Gantri’s custom-engineered corn-based polyester to collaboratively launch a trio of refined and affordable 3D-printed luminaires.
Dubbed Gio, Carve and Signal, each of the three lines (consisting of table, floor and wall-mounted versions) are available in five muted, earthy hues, adding to Gantri’s already impressive portfolio of designer collaborations.
The proprietary corn-based PLA (polyactic acid) used in the collection was developed alongside Dutch manufacturer ColorFabb, and is formulated in two distinct blends. The first, used primarily for diffusers, was designed with translucent properties to “create a warm, diffusive glow without affecting the colour temperature of the light source,” according to Gantri. The second, used for the body of the light, is an opaque, heat-resistant blend (70 per cent more so than similar PLAs) that is then finished in a water-based coating.
“We’re always exploring new processes and materials that will drive the future of product design,” explains Robert Brunner, a founder and partner at Ammunition, which has offices in San Francisco and New York. “So it was exciting for us to work with Gantri to create products that challenge preconceptions of 3D-printed objects.”
Combining durable materiality and sustainable production methods with a distinctly bespoke quality, each fixture is equipped with museum-quality dimmable LEDs and printed on demand to minimize the waste and pollution caused by shipping. All this, while providing a charming sense of individuality.
“Each light feels very experiential,” adds Victoria Slaker, Ammunition’s vice president of product design. “They are an expression of the designer behind it and reflect both the creative possibilities of Gantri’s platform and Ammunition’s attention to detail and quality.”
Defined by a bulbous shade with softened edges, the Gio collection takes its cues from 1970s Italian design as well as the rotund forms of clay and ceramic objects. Its interplay of elemental geometries results in a suite of luminaires that remains compelling even when turned off.
Similarly, the weighty Carve line boasts a monolithic, sculptural shade that deftly plays with perceptions of mass across its three seamless iterations. Unlike its siblings, however, the series provides more directional illumination – particularly evident in the hovering shade of the floor model.
Rounding out the release, the Signal family orbits around a single consistent profile: a stout cylindrical frame with “louvred slats” that recall industrial beacons (giving the product its moniker). A leaner cylindrical support on the back of the table model aids the fixture in casting “a wide, bright light to illuminate work surfaces or tasks” while the sconce version adds a graphic quality to any vertical surface.
Taken together, the inaugural collaboration between the two California creatives is a reminder that good design and sustainable production need not be mutually exclusive. As Slaker explains: “Achieving something different in the lighting space is challenging, but with Gantri, we were able to create products that offer people something unique when it comes to design and sustainability.” In other words, it’s a perfect pairing.
For their first collaboration, the manufacturer and the local design studio – both based in San Francisco – have crafted three unique, affordable and sustainable light fixtures.