Material – finding the most interesting cubes

After our first presentation, I decided to go with the nine-transforming-cube concept. It is supposed to be a wall lamp. However, I still had no idea how it should look like. After two not very successful experiments, I figured out my next step.


Experiment 1: Natural bonding fiber cubes

I started with the natural bonding fiber which can be bought in every building supplies store. The light could go through the space between the fibers, which creates the light-shadow effect. I soaked the bonding fiber into the wallpaper adhesive and wrapped it around the cardboard cubes. I tried to wrap it in different patterns, randomly and orderly.

natural bonding fiber 1 natural bonding fiber 2

natural bonding fiber 3 natural bonding fiber 4

All images © Jie Pu

After the whole weekend, they finally dried in the air! Instead of being stuck to each other, they were just stuck to the paper cubes. It was not easy to remove the paper cube out of the fiber net. I had to cut them into pieces and remove them. The fiber cubes were neither firm nor pretty.

natural bonding fiber 5

© Jie Pu

Brief summary:  

Although the experiment failed, I learnt one important thing after trying with the Acrich LED module: It is necessary to put a non-transparent cover on the front side of the cube since the light is really strong and glaring.


Experiment 2:  Shōji paper with wood, light with shadow

Non-transparent cover and kinetic cubes. The first idea came to my mind was the Shōji which is a shiftable door or a room divider made of paper over a wood frame and can be found in many traditional Japanese interiors. The translucent and tough Shōji paper is made of wood fibers. I bought some from a Japanese shop in Munich for my second experiment. Firstly, I covered the front side of the cube with Shōji paper by using a special glue for Shōji. After cutting different patterns around the other four sides of the paper cubes, I put them on the LED module to test the lighting effect to look for the best pattern.

paper with wood 1 paper with wood 2 paper with wood 3

paper with wood 4

All images © Jie Pu

After finding the most interesting pattern, I made a cube of wood frame and covered five surfaces with Shōji paper. Unfortunately, there was no light-shadow effect on the wall at all. It made me think in a different way: Do I really need a light-shadow effect for the lamp?

paper with wood 5 paper with wood 6

All images © Jie Pu

Brief summary:

I couldn’t say the second experiment totally failed, since it had me re-think my concept.



If too many USPs are added to one object, it makes the object too complicated. I cleared my mind up and went back to the very beginning: If I was the person who saw the lamp at first glance, what would catch my eye? The transforming! The focus should be locked on the transforming! The key point of transforming of the lamp is the band through the nine cubes.

I knew what I should do for the next step, to find the suitable material for the band which binds the cubes together. It should be flexible and not easily breakable.

Experiment 3: PP film, keeping everything simple

After research, I thought PP (polypropylene) or PVC might be the right material for the band. I got a small sample of 0.5 mm PP film from our university workshop. The longest band is 12 squares long ( maybe I could reduce it to 11). Considering the size of the sample piece, I made each square 4 cm long for testing. To save the material, I made nine paper cubes. The band was slightly cut to keep the band from breaking. The first cut was still too deep. After I folded it along the line, it broke easily into two parts. I banded them with the adhesive tape. Then I tried to cut the film more slightly with the back side of the cutter blade. It worked! It could be folded at both sides and did not break!

PP 1 PP 2

All images © Jie Pu

Next step:

I thought PP is the right material. The 0.5mm PP film worked very well with 4 cm-long cubes. But the real length of each cube might be longer, maybe around 8cm-10cm because there should be some space between the LED module and the cubic lampshade. Besides, the heat dispatch for the LED module has a certain weight, I am not sure if the 0.5 mm thickness is strong enough to hold the heat dispatches by shifting. Maybe I should try with 0.5 mm and 0.8 mm. However, there is no suitable PP film for me in Munich. After researching, I ordered 0.8 mm and 0.5 mm online with different colors, white, fog white and colorless. If neither of them is strong enough to hold heat dispatches, I will try the thicker one. There is a plant nearby the suburb of Munich which offers 1 mm PP film.

Waiting with patience, trying to figure out the best way to fold cubes with PP film will be my next step.

Jie Pu

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