Using Basic LED Lighting Technology to Create Exotic Luminaires

Beautiful lighting designs do not always use complicated lighting technology, as demonstrated through the Jellyfish Illuminant by Kristin Birna’s, Iceland designer and co-founder of design company Gerist, at Lighting Japan 2014 during Jan. 15-17, 2014. Birna, who originally worked in the publication sector left the industry to pursue a design career. She graduated from Iceland Academy of Arts in 2008. 

Kristin Birna, Product Designer and founder of Gerist.
Kristin Birna, Product designer and co-founder of Iceland design firm Gerist. (LEDinside) 

Lin: Can you talk a bit about your background? 

Birna: I love making new things. I am actually a product designer and first started designing souvenirs. I’ve been collaborating with another designer to make the souvenirs, and we won awards for our soap design.

We’ve also made this condom as a souvenir that shows off Iceland’s natural geography, and on the back there is a map of the country and important natural landmarks. I like playing with ideas and materials and being funny. It also has to be useful and pragmatic. The Jellyfish Illuminant is my graduation project for a lighting course at Iceland Academy of Arts. 

Birna’s earlier condom and Iceland souvenir designs. Top: Front image shows a man lying down, an image of a volcanic eruption is shown in the pubic zone. The design shows Birna's humor loving side. (LEDinside) 

Lin: Is there a particular designer that has influenced your work? 

Birna: I really like Dutch design firm Droog’s works. I especially like their works from 10-20 years ago.

Birna's Jellyfish Illuminant reflective properties give it an ethereal quality. The light source for this luminaire design is separated, the jellyfish like sturcture is similar to a lamp shade with no electricity passing through it. The shade becomes completely dark when the light source below is obstructed. (LEDinside)

Lin: What is the design concept for Jellyfish Illuminant?

Birna: (Laughs) Other people called it jellyfish, but that was not what I had in mind. When other people saw it they said it looks like a jellyfish, they gave it the name. I was thinking of how it reflects a person’s soul. If you’re good it reflects something good. So it reflects different colors of light, and you can change it (changes LED spotlight lens colors) to reflect your mood. I wanted to make something brand new and playing with new designs.

Birna's Jellyfish Illuminaire under bluish lighting. (LEDinside)

Lin: What is the material used in the luminaire?

Birna: A kind of reflective and translucent plastic. The hardest part was making the tassels underneath the luminaire. The design only took a few months to make.

Lin: Is this the first time you used LED?

Birna: Yes, this is the first time I used LED. LED is still very uncommon in Iceland, I could not find the type of LED spotlight for this luminaire and had to import from China. As you can see, the light is very basic (switches LED spotlight color lens manually).

Lin: What market are you targeting with Jellyfish Illuminant?

Birna: I mostly hope to sell this luminaire in Japan to bars and bathing houses. I think these are places where the luminaire most suitable. I hope to find a manufacturer at Lighting Japan 2014.

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