by Gautam Sen, Avik ChattopadhyayDec 14, 2020
British design studio Nir Meiri has collaborated with Indian designer Vaidehi Thakkar to conceptualise a range of lamps with distinctive lampshades made of red cabbage leaves. Titled ‘Veggie Lights’, the aim of this collection is to exhibit the unique use of red cabbage leaves as a material for crafting lamps. The Veggie Lights range was designed in such a way so as to retain the original silhouette of the vegetable. When a light source is applied to the red cabbage leaves, its intricate veins and natural colouring are clearly visible and produce a special visual effect. The Veggie Lights table lamps feature a simple black and golden base that houses the light source, which projects upwards into the lampshades. The lamps are available in two versions. In the first, the rough and uneven form of the leaves are trimmed to create sloping curves, while in the other, the rugged shape is left untouched.
The final Veggie Lights table lamps shine the spotlight on the visually intriguing vegetable and have an overall elegant and sleek design aesthetic. The lampshades made with red cabbage leaves have been transformed into a paper-like material called ‘Fibre Flats.’ “After soaking the cabbage leaves in an anti-fungal material, we dry them until all the moisture is evaporated, using a mould that mimics the shape of the original red cabbage leaf. And then, we finish them off with a water-based, sustainable coating,” mentions Meiri.
This collaboration between Nir Meiri Studio and Vaidehi Thakkar was born from the common wish to explore and execute sustainable design and take it a step further into the spotlight. Previously, Meiri has also transformed mycelium and seaweed into lampshades. “I think that unconsciously we want to be surrounded by nature, which is why we appreciate design that mimics nature. Vegetables are an endless source for colours, geometrics and compositions, and well... this is what design is all about. When Vaidehi first contacted me and sent me samples of the material she developed, I was very impressed, especially by the quality and beauty of the ‘Fibre Flats’. The idea that we can make lamps out of vegetables! It was mind blowing and I was defiantly on board to explore the possibilities,” adds Meiri.
The designers were inspired by the ultra-thin texture and translucency of the red cabbage leaves, which they thought made it an ideal choice for application in lighting design. “My passion for ‘Fibre Flats’ is rooted in their varied dimensional, textural and polychromatic qualities that leave a deep visual and haptic impression upon a person. Additionally, Nir’s sensitivity to the use of natural materials in interior environments, especially lighting applications combined with our meticulous exploration and execution of this handcrafted material, has synergised both our efforts to push the boundaries of our humble fruits and vegetables,” states Thakkar.
With the Veggie Lights collection, Meiri and Thakkar hope to inspire designers and artists to experiment and push the boundaries of the kinds of materials that can be used to craft home furnishings. Moreover, as the Veggie Lights are made of a natural material, the lamps need to be taken care of in a certain way and they will ‘age’ over time. “We are using natural sustainable materials in order to preserve the red cabbage leaves. That means it will stay durable but it will not last forever. As any other natural material, it will ‘age’ over time and was not designed to last forever. It can be returned back to the earth as compost and easily replaced with a new shade but using the same base. Additionally, in order to keep the lamp in a good condition, it should be kept away from moisture. It can be cleaned with a dry cloth,” concludes Meiri.