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    Product story

    tom chung & the facets of light

    Based between Vancouver and Rotterdam, designer Tom Chung’s work is driven by his acute interest in the human experience of space. Years in the making, his portable Piton Lamp for Muuto is a uniquely playful approach to light, enabling one to illuminate where and as needed—inside, outside and beyond, standing, angled or lying, attached for up or downlight—in other words, allowing the user to create a room of one’s own.
    We spoke to the designer about finding inspiration in the great outdoors, the process behind Piton and the pleasure of seeing it make its way into the world.

    Where do you find inspiration?

    - The starting point of this project was reflecting on how we are living in cities and our desire for wilderness within these spaces. There is also a counterpoint to this; the trend of city dwellers leaving for more rural areas. This duality spawned the idea to design an object which could bridge these two ways of life.

    - Since the lamp is USB rechargeable and weather resistant, it may be brought into outdoor environments and could technically be recharged from an external battery or solar charger. The many different ways it sits, rests, clips or hooks can adapt to older buildings and even off-grid sites where you may not have power outlets everywhere or at all.

    "Fundamentally, I wanted it to be a contemporary interpretation of a torch lamp that could be the only lamp you need in any context. I hope that its functional flexibility inspires the user to look at the other objects in their life and do more with less."

    Tom Chung

    What does your design process look like?

    - My design process varies wildly with every project. If I’m responding to a brief it might be quite linear; ideation, concept, design development and a final outcome.

    - Independent projects usually stem from reading and research on specific topics — during the time I was designing Piton I was thinking a lot about the work of Andrea Zittel, such as the A-Z Container, and her site work at A-Z West, a living experiment in the Californian desert, focused on exploring human needs.

    What inspired Piton’s design? 

    - Designing the lamp, I started out thinking about how it could rest in its 3 distinct positions providing up-light, directional light and ambient light while also being hung, clipped or inserted between books on a shelf.

    - I was imagining all kinds of places you might use it; on a boat, in a camping van, at a late night picnic, or in a cabin. I grew up in Vancouver, Canada,  where nature is never far away from the city, so spending time between these opposite environments was a big inspiration for this project.

    "Outdoor equipment was a big influence on the design in terms of multi-function and durability. The name itself is a reference to a climbing tool which can be jammed into small cracks and crevices to secure your safety line."

    Tom Chung

    Piton has been years in the making – did the idea or design change along the way?

    - I started working on this project with Muuto back in 2018. The design itself hasn’t changed at all, it is the exact dimensions as my prototype, to the millimeter. All of the changes have simply been improvements: perfecting the light source, figuring out the water-proofing, and figuring out how to fit a powerful battery into such a small lamp body.

    - Conceptually, I think the lamp is launching at a time when our relationship to nature has changed drastically over the pandemic. Ideas that might have been fringe or unconventional 4 years ago, at least in terms of outdoor living, have become very mainstream.

    Where do you see Piton being used? How do you use Piton at home and in the studio?

    - I hope that the lamp is as much at home in an urban apartment as a farmhouse or boat. I’ve had several people reach out to me who want the lamp for their camper van or other alternative spaces, which is really exciting to me.

    - I hope that the lamp takes on a life of its own now that it is available. I would love to see the lamp provoke scenarios that begin to depict the original intent of the lamp; the space between cities and nature.

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    Part of the MillerKnoll Collective