Forget high school, nerds are the new fashionistas and tech-inspired products are what all the cool kids want to be seen with. Getting Geek Chic right is tricky. But Dirk Winkel succeeded with his lamp. Winkel w127-Lamp goes to prove what can happen when two opposites attract and get recombined.
When Geek Goes Chic
Forget high school, nerds are the new fashionistas and tech-inspired products are what all the cool kids want to be seen with. Think Star Trek-cum-style guru with a bit of retro flung in for good measure, and you’re halfway there. Consumers are increasingly turning towards gadgets and gizmos that have been carefully designed and crafted down to a T so that they seamlessly slot in with their needs and lifestyles. Getting Geek Chic right can be tricky. As consumers, we have become so specific about what we want that a multiplicity of different components must be combined to strike the precise balance: the height of design sophistication on the one hand and tech-savvy pizazz on the other. This is not easy to achieve but something that we’re increasingly seeing put into practice in products such as watches, bikes or smartphone projectors.
One ambitious designer is leading the way. In what can arguably be termed the leading light in Geek Chic, Berlin-based designer Dirk Winkel has coupled quirky German-design with refined Swedish production know-how and cutting edge engineering in material development for his aptly named Winkel w127-Lamp.
From a design perspective, Dirk wanted the lamp to have a significant impression of substance, of materiality – and he wanted to use plastic to do it. This is an unusual choice in a world where we generally want our things to be lighter. But his vision has paid off. The outcome is a lamp which looks and feels tough but combines the sophistication and elegance that would make it equally welcome in houses in the city or country. BASF’s material expertise was called upon and they were able use a product from their broad portfolio called Ultramid® Balance. This is not just any plastic, as explained by Eva Hoefli from the BASF’s design wing, designfabrik®: ‘Dirk asked us to provide a plastic that would be durable. The manufacturer Wastberg then asked if we had a material with renewable aspects. Ultramid® Balance was the clear choice. It has a solid form but is largely bio-based, thus fulfilling these conditions.’
The light source for the lamp - an energy-efficient multichip LED that will last for years – adds to its sustainable quality, another increasingly sought after necessity for environment-conscious consumers. That means no ‘lights out’, even for the most avid bookworm. With all that box ticking, it’s really no wonder that the lamp boasts a handful of accolades to its name. It was presented with the "Good Design" award in 2012 by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design as well as the "Design S" award presented by “Svensk Form”, the Yoda of design mastery. It just goes to show what can happen when two opposites attract.