Jonathan Topf
Design, making & interaction

Salt Lamp

Over the past few years, software has gradually become my goto design tool. But, during the 2020/21 lockdown, I began to want a side project that lived outside my laptop, so I set myself the task of designing and building a lamp.

It ended up taking a couple of months and forced me to to learn all sorts. Every bit needed custom making, apart from the salt for the shade (which was recycled from an old broken lamp). I absolutely loved iterating and assembling the various parts of the PCB, the aluminium housing and 3D printed based cap.

One pleasant surprise has been discovering how accessible a lot of design technology has become - almost the entire project was completed with free, open source, or very cheap design tools.

Materials on the other hand, were as expensive as ever - but, I found there was at least one silver lining. I learned that over the years software has made me somewhat lazy - because iteration is so cheap, I have learned to "move fast and break things". On this project however, where each prototype costs money, I re-learned a little patience, diligence and generally a more considered cadence of working.

I've been using the finished product as my reading lamp for a few weeks now, and I'm pleased to say, it works like a charm!