Zeta Aluminium is a table lamp designed by Zpstudio (Matteo Zetti and Eva Parigi) as part of their Zpstudio Tools collection, a series of products evolved from a research on traditional and avant-garde tecniques, and manufactured with the collaboration of tuscan craftsmen or little factories.
This lamp is a new version of the iconic table top lamp Zeta (Zeta means letter “z” in italian, the body type as recalled by the very silouhette of the lamp ), and it was originally made out from a single poplar plywood sheet.
The idea of the lamp evolved from the need of having a sustainable lighting object, to be used as a desktop device, and to be easily assembled without any screw or hardware or adhesive. And, most of all, having an affordable final price to the public.
The very first step of the "Zeta" design was the original wooden version: thinking of a lamp made by simply interlocking some carefully designed pieces of wood, we developed a plain template combination to be transfered on a plywood sheet, and to be lasercut.
The combination of pieces is made to minimize any possible waste of material, and it takes account of the millimetric percentage of wood that will be cut off from the depth of each piece, to have the structure perfectly solid when all the pieces are interlocked.
And, furthermore, we discovered a very interesting aesthetic theme in developing the laser cut technology with wood: the cutting edge where the laser beam operates become darker, almost burnt-like, and this is beatiful because it just underlines the points of interlocking. We found this a very nice effect!
We are actually both designers and producers of the lamp, but when the wooden version first came out in its first prototypes, it has been edited from 2011 to 2012 by an italian design label called "Slowdesign". Then we took back the patent and started developing the concept, as we wanted to further extend the early idea to achieve a more advanced, tech-like version. That's why we choosed this lightweight and yet solid material, made from a coupled thin aluminium sheet with a rubber layer inside: therefore the aluminium version of Zeta is made out of interlocking Dibond® pieces, obtained by the laser cut of a single sheet.
We found a very big Dibond® dealer in Tuscany, near the very lively Calenzano industrial district, who consented to work with very small quantity orders and followed us in all the technical tests.
The Dibond® sheets are normally used in the building industry for high-tech facades, so they come out in very huge quantities and dimensions.
The very big challenge in this aluminium version design was indeed to have it perfectly solid and steady in one shot: every piece has to be cut by infinitesimal precision to allow both an easy assembling, and a stiff snap-fit. We had to make a lot of cut tests to achieve this.
In the Aluminium version, we wanted to achieve an industrial-like appearance yet through an almost no-tech developing process, and this is quite peculiar when designing a lamp, where design has to follow a lot of tech-driven steps, first af all the compliance to very strict EU standards for electrical devices. We achieved this by taking the wire connector out of the body of the lamps, and by calculating the minimum distance between the three wings that shade the light bulb. Yet we found out another very clever technical aspect from the Dibond® itself, as the black rubber set in between the aluminium sheets provides for a perfect grip for the lamp base to lie on any horizontal surface. In the end, the final result came from the right choice of working an industrial end product in terms of an artisanal and limited edition production.
We wanted to show the lamp as a simple device, easy to assemble by hand by the final customer, through a very easy sequence(picture below) :
We tried to avoid any waste of material by creating a very narrow template combination, being this crucial also to reduce production costs.The lamp may come whether already mounted, or in a flat-pack, so as to achieve the miminum amount of space and to reduce shipping and distribution costs.
For the original wooden version of the Zeta lamp, we went looking for laser-cutting companies who would be able to follow us with many prior tests before getting to the final design, and also could grant a low final costs, and we found one in the manufacture district of Valdarno, between Florence and Arezzo. In that area a lot of small to bigger companies have been spreading as service industries around the high fashion production district (Prada, Gucci, Ferragamo). There we found the best company for us, a one normally working with the laser cut of shoe soles.