Bright invention: Frugal innovation inspires lighting

23 : 05 : 2013 Lighting : Developing World : Jugaad Innovation

New York – For Noho Next 2013, a showcase of work by 13 emerging American designers, Misha Kahn created lighting inspired by impromptu use of materials in the developing world.

Kahn recently completed Fulbright in Tel Aviv, and during his travels in the Middle East he noticed a kind of ‘curious minimalism mixed with ingenious ornament, which is sometimes accidental’.

The idea for the lighting came when Kahn and studio partner Chris Wilson received some glass tubes from a medical facility. ‘We wanted to make something that was like how buildings are put up in these developing countries, where it starts with scaffolding but then they have to get resourceful because they run out of the sensible building material,’ he tells LS:N Global.

The resulting work, mixing industrial yellow rope, ‘hand-squished wax’ and tin foil recoated with resin, is a high-concept example of what Jaideep Prabhu calls Jugaad Innovation, or innovation based on cleverness and adaptation to limited resources.

The project is also reminiscent of the hand-made high-tech look of work by Silo Studio, featured in a previous Innovate.