Propeller Blossom – Duncan Meerding

What is the concept and inspiration behind the Propeller Blossom? The initial idea came about when I was experimenting with plywood and the grain of the plywood determined which way the petals twisted/bent. I was attempting to create a different form.The final product effectively meshes propeller and floral like forms together and makes a unique flat-pack light.

How long have you been working on the product for? The initial propeller pendant form came about back in 2011 when experimenting with plywood. Throughout 2012 I tried to push this initial form into a fully-fledged, flat-pack lighting product. I hit a range of challenges along the way and had to walk away for a bit. In 2015 I made a bit of a breakthrough in terms of the original design’s manufacturing, creating a fully-fledged lighting product. After showcasing this light at a number of events I wanted to create a new version that was up-scalable in size. After a bit of experimentation in 2019 we managed to create the Propeller Blossom.

What was the most challenging aspect of producing this product? Whilst the Blossom is a follow on from the original Propeller, it was not just a simple up-scale tool that had to be hit in a computer aided drawing programme. In 2017 we developed the Propeller Bloom, which was a big floor installation. From this I realised that using our current production methods, we could not make anything quite as big as the Bloom to hang safely and rigidly, but had to meet somewhere in the middle. There were definitely some challenges creating such a light with only a single fixing point on each blade/petal whilst maintaining such an open, 3D form. This light truly pushed some of the limits in terms of materials and rigidity and this was proven during the prototyping in 2019.

What materials have been used? Can you describe the design process? The materials used are Tasmanian Eucalyptus, powder coated aluminium, Tasmanian Blackwood (Acacia) and various lighting components.The design process involved a lot of experimentation with the lightweight veneer and various glues to laminate the items in their custom form. The design and making processes often go hand in hand for me, and working out design by experimentation in making is especially important to have an understanding of the rigidity of the different materials and how light performs in the form in the real world.

What technologies does the product use? The technology focuses upon how light performs through and around 3D objects. We utilise Edison screw fixtures for this item, allowing for versatility for the end user. Each item is hand-made in our workshop and coupled with this we also use some computer controlled machines such as laser cutters.

Describe the Propeller Blossom in three words? Calming, nature-inspired, hand-made.

What makes this light different to other lighting products available? It’s a bit of fun executed in a pared-down simple way that we hope still appeals to a wide audience.

What kind of environments / clients is the Propeller Blossom suitable for? This item is intended for larger spaces, be it larger commercial foyers/entry ways or stairwells in larger domestic homes. The item has a lot of presence as shown by the photo in our studio workshop. Blossom is 85cm cubed (approximately).

What makes this product different to other lighting products available on the market? These lights have been designed from an alternative sensory experience. The light effect from this design is relaxing and organic, quite similar to the dappled light effect found underneath a forest canopy. As I am legally blind with less than 5% vision concentrated around the periphery, I am hyper aware of light moving through a space, and I believe my unique sensory experience can help enhance everyone’s experience in a space.

Another large plus for this feature light, is that the item is relatively light and compact when in transit and quite easy to assemble at the other end.