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Dutch designer Marcel Wanders discusses how he overcame the challenges of using LED technology in his new lamp for Moooi and defends the high cost of design products in this movie Dezeen filmed in Milan.
Wanders' new lamp for Moooi is called Flattering and features an ornate copper-coloured frame that supports 32 LED lights enclosed by tiny individual transparent lamp shades. It was on show as part of Moooi's Unexpected Welcome exhibition in Milan.
"With LEDs we need to redesign our thinking about what to do," says Wanders of the challenges of working with the technology.
"You have these little lights, but each of them is very sharp. If you want enough light in an LED lamp you have to put them together and [if] you have a lot it [will] blind you completely. One of the solutions is to put these little lights further away from each other."
Normally, spreading apart so many individual LEDs would result in a lot of messy wiring to power them all. However, Wanders explains that Moooi has developed its own proprietary technology called Electrosandwich, which allows the LEDs to be powered directly through layers of conductive material within the frame.
"Here we have developed a patented technology which makes it possible for us to put lights anywhere we want without putting special cables and fittings," he says.
Wanders then goes on to defend the high cost of products that design companies like Moooi produce.
"If Moooi makes a design, the company doesn't only make this object in a really good way, with the right materials, with the right techniques and with the right perfections," he says."It also did all of the development. To get there is really difficult."
"You will always find that the companies who copy something sell only the things that sell really well," he continues. "A company that does design has to also find a way to make it's margins for all the other things that fail, which is part of design."
Wanders concludes: "Ultimately, an original design product will have a cost higher than its copy."
Wanders also believes that owning an original product rather than a copy is important.
"If you want an authentic life, if you want to be an authentic being then you want to connect with with your surroundings,' he says.
"My grandfather used to say 'show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are.' Show me your surroundings and I'll tell you who you are."