Swedish architects Claesson Koivisto Rune (also prolific industrial designers), working in tandem with Swedish forestry industry company Södra (with whom they had previously developed a biodegradable children’s chair), have just released the W101 Lamp, a task lamp made of paper. 

Innovative and attractive, not only does it display the enormous potential for making lamps from environmentally friendly material, it also showcases the limitless possibilities of bioplastics. While the biodegradability is not a primary requirement for a lamp, the benefits in terms of packaging are enormous. Lightweight, the W101 Lamp is ideal for catering functions and other mass-used events.

The combination of electricity and paper do not seem like a happy combination for a task light conceived for the home. The lamps, however, are made from DuraPulp, a biodegradable papier-mâché, which is made from selected pulp from Södra combined with PLA (polylactic acid, a renewable biopolymer produced from starch).

When combined, the two materials provide specific properties that can be reinforced through hot pressing. DuraPulp has high wet strength, high water resistance, high dimensional stability, as well as high tensile strength and bending stiffness, and it is made from 100% renewable fibres (and is therefore fully biodegradable).

The resulting lamp is a innovative, dimmable LED task light, with warm white LEDs, asymmetric reflectors and an asymmetric diffuser. The use of an electronic-based lighting source makes the issue of heat resistance irrelevant, since the LEDs always remain cold.

“The lamp structure is compostable and uses an absolute minimum of material,” explain Claesson Koivisto Rune. “The custom-designed, state-of-the-art LED solution provides the most electricity-conserving and quality of light possible. And the directed light puts the illumination where you need it without spill. We dare anyone to manufacture a more ecological electric lamp.”

Despite its ultra-contemporary form, W101 was actually designed with an eye for tradition. “Combining old wisdom with ground-breaking technology is elementary to Wästberg’s philosophy,” says Magnus Wästberg, founder and CEO.

“Paper has been used throughout history for making lamp shades. Now we are using it for the actual structure of the fixture, adding advanced LED technology.”

The trio have truly pushed the boundaries of what is possible to achieve with pulp. With an alluring form and contemporary function, the design demonstrates that starch-based plastics lack nothing over traditional ones.

The prototype was presented at the Salone in Milano in 2010, and this year the product was manufactured by Wästberg.   

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