Units of Design: definition.

Juicy Sarif by Philippe StarckIt has happened to all of us. We see an object, a well designed object, and we fall in love with it.

It could be because of its proportions, dimensions, the innovative use of materials, or the shape of it that’s very unusual for its category; I know, I am the proud owner of a Juicy Sarif by Philippe Starck.  And that’s OK, it’s very OK especially for the consumer market.  I love my Juicy Sarif; I get to use it a few times a year, usually at parties, and it’s surely a conversation piece as well as a useful tool in the kitchen. Form does meet function at times.  And yet one starts to wonder: what is the function? To extract juice from lemons and oranges as efficiently as possible, or . . . a conversation piece that makes me smile every time I use it because of its ingenuity, and its tongue-in-cheek innovation?  There’s only one answer to that dilemma and the answer is a resounding “YES!”.

At projectLUCE we design, manufacture and bring to market lighting fixtures.  There’s a cosmic fascination around lighting fixtures; they are objects of decor on their own and yet they are called to provide useful light when necessary.
Some fixtures are just pure utilitarian; they provide light on demand, perfect beam spread, color temperature, lumen output as specified, nothing less, nothing more.  Chances are that they are not very aesthetically pleasing to look at.
On the other end of the spectrum (pun intended), decorative fixtures are beautiful to look at, pleasing to the eye, at times too pleasing.  In the quest to produce an eye catching piece, the end result of the design process might be something that is a means to its own end; a narcissistic bold statement that would probably look great on its own pedestal at MoMA in NYC: Art in its purest form!  I love these art-like fixtures too!  I own a couple of them myself (no need to name names), and I showcase them very proudly.  But in the hands of a design-conscious end user or a design professional(*), they are highly inflexible elements of design since each represents a means to its own end.

At projectLUCE we have a different philosophy.  While we try to design lighting fixtures that make a statement on their own – we use the term iconic – at the same time they provide useful light.  We always design keeping in mind the type of end users that we are:  we hack most of the objects that we have around our house, our office and our shop.  And by hacking I mean “to make innovative customizations or combinations of off-the-shelf products“, just like a little kid who at Christmas shuns their presents because they’re all too perfect and too single-use; that kid who prefers to play with the boxes and wrapping paper because they represent infinite possibilities. 

Similar to kids, we enjoy playing with objects and products that have flexibility built in.Lego color bricks
As an example Lego comes to mind. Lego are beautifully designed & engineered units of play, limited only by the creativity and imagination of the end user.  If you hold in your hand a single piece of Lego, it has that ever elusive je ne sais quoi: that balance of proportions, size, weight, texture and color that’s the result of the summation of the teachings of Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci, Euclid, Josef Albers and Johannes Itten; all in one little piece of plastic!  The basic Lego piece is a marvel; in all practicality it’s a rectangle 8mm by 18.8mm, with proportions very close to the Golden Ratio which is then developed to include square and square-based depth for modular engineering and architecture. With Lego, children of all ages at play, or Lego artists, can flirt with that broad space where Art imitates Life and Life imitates Art.

projectLUCE’s fixtures are designed, engineered, and built to be played with.  They are meant to be employed by those discriminating end users who are never satisfied with the status quo. They are meant to be used by design professionals the world over to carry forward their vision and design thinking for innovative spaces for creative individuals.  Just like Lego are units of play, our fixtures are units of design™ . While each fixture is beautiful and iconic on its own, they are meant to be incorporated and used to fit and enhance the designer’s concept.  Your design starts where projectLUCE’s design ends, in a beautiful continuum that makes the world a better place, one lighting fixture at a time.



unit of design™ is a Trademark of projectLUCE, a division of Ahead of the Wave, Inc. 

NOTE:  the upcoming Incognito line (wall systems, pendant systems, and sconce systems.) is based upon the Golden Ratio.

(*) Design Professionals: Architects, Interior Designer, Lighting Designer, and Exhibit Designer

Photo Credits: (cc) Niklas Morberg (Juicy Sarif)

Photo Credits: (cc) Alan Chia (Lego color bricks)

A Designer’s Oath

Inspired by Dionysis Zindros’s A programmer’s oath.


I swear, to fulfill according to the best
of my ability and judgement,
this oath and this covenant

  1. Design is Art.
  2. I will keep in mind that I don’t design mere products, but I design the end users’ experiences of the products I design.
  3. I will use my Design skills to solve problems; finding new solutions to old and new problems.
  4. I will keep “top of mind” that it’s easy to solve problems with complex solutions; elegant Design comes from simple solutions to complex problems.
  5. I will distinguish between problems and situations, and act accordingly.
  6. I will conduct business in an ecological manner, creating symbiotic relationships with everyone I get in contact. The Business is also part of my Art.
  7. I will respect the Muses who inspire my Art and fuel my Passion.
  8. Innovation doesn’t stop at the product I design, but shall permeate the processes, the way of doing business, and my every day life as a Designer, an Artist, an Entrepreneur, and as Individual.
  9. I know what I know, and I don’t know what I don’t know: my Education never ends.
  10. My Art is an extension of my persona; I have no choice about this, you can see a part of me in everything I Design.
  11. Your experience is important to me; my Design ends where your Experience begins: feel free to use my Design in ways it was never intended (be safe).
  12. quantity < Quality.
  13. Unless detrimental to my Art, I will share my knowledge with anyone who’s genuinely interested.
  14. I will respect the intellectual property of others.
  15. I love Creative Commons.
  16. I will not use my designs for unfair profit, financial or of other kind. I will treat just profits as the means to sustainability of my Art.
  17. Art is a verb: do it.
  18. I will not fall in love with tools, but I will learn to love what the tools can do.
  19. I will not be ashamed to say I know not, nor will I fail to call for help if needed.
  20. I know I can be wrong, but my Intentions are always pure.
  21. I know the difference between knowledge and wisdom, and I will practice the Golden Rule in everything I do.

If I respect these precepts
may it be granted to me to enjoy my Art and my Life
with one being an extension of the other;
sharing both with my Friends.
There’s no happiness, only Bliss.

Creative Commons License

An overdue update: better late than never!

Wow, has it been a few months already since we launched projectLUCE?  So many things have transpired in such a short period!

– 5 solid weeks were spent on a design “sabbatical”, the product of which were many, many conceptual designs…

index card models

cardboard models

– Attended three trade shows: Euroluce in Milano, LightFair in Philly, and ICFF in New York (photos coming soon) in the course of two months which filled us with many inspirations and propelled us forward to focus on further development of some of our original concepts.

– Three conceptual designs have made it to the prototyping phase: Qubit, Primadonna and Khaos.  Primadonna has been put on hold temporarily as we focus on developing Qubit and Khaos. Qubit is leading the way with a tentative launch date of Oct 1, 2013, and Khaos a tentative launch date of Jan 1 2014.  Through the course of prototyping, we have generated many, many models using all types of materials:  cardboard, foam core, aluminum, wood, acrylic, and others.

zen android


– A wonderful “discovery” of a new design!!


– Meetings with vendors, lots of emails flying around, and now heading into the next phase leading towards production!!!

Stay tuned…..

© 2013 projectLUCE, a division of Ahead of the Wave, Inc.