Products are never born perfect

 

SMARTBUNCH, the story so far…


We won’t keep you here all day - or all night depending on when you’re reading - here are some short, sharp, strands of the SMARTBUNCH story…

The fact is, products aren’t born perfect. They’re just not. The pictures here are the result of hours of agonizing. That agony is exacerbated when you are working on something without any precedents - a real innovation.

It takes so many a trial & error iterations, so many different tries until you get the right one. Winding the clock back, every great innovation begins as an idea. Ours was (for many reasons) a flexible, malleable light bulb. Sounds simple. It wasn't.

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We started with a little model: Simply paper triangles cut out and glued together at the sides. Humble beginnings.

Gradually our progress moved to the first 3D printed parts also held by glue, and we started exploring the first shapes. It transpires you can make pretty much any 3D form out of triangles.

We started playing with bigger and bigger modules and ultimately got to the point where we started thinking about the actual design of the product.

This is when it gets really interesting… a good design has to encompass so many things: physics of the materials, quality of build, aesthetics, appearance, ease of use, and most importantly - performance of lighting - most essential for a lighting product!

It transpires you can’t just use any old material to create a successful modular product. I’m not talking woven unicorn hair here either, but more simple materials like X and Y were not fit for purpose.

That’s not even mentioning a big thing here. The light. I mean, if a lighting product isn’t good at the lighting bit we have a problem. An ice cream isn’t gonna work without either of the two named components – ice and cream! Independently, they have use, but not on top of a cone! The quality of light was the single most important factor in our design: the right strength, that you cannot be blinded by it, the extreme longevity and efficiency.

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One of our first-ever working prototypes was made from silver. You’ve never seen anything so beautiful in your life. Minimal, sleek – a thing of pure beauty. The break-up was hard, neither side wanted it but it came down to money. Scalability at the cost would not work at this stage.

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Some different iterations of the SMARTBUNCH light (the GIF above reduces three years of our work to just thirty ruthless seconds).

It seems we've come a long way since then!

 
Andreja Beric