Between Lamp and Sculpture – Interview with Small Rabbit Design
Ever since his childhood, designer Stathis Lagoudakis has created sculptures and forms out of paper and pulp. Now, he is using his experience to design fascinating lamps made out of paper and LED light sources. In our talk, he provided us insight into his craft, talked about the impact that lighting has on a room and explained to us, what the name „Small Rabbit Design“ stands for.
G-Pulse Editor: Stathis, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Stathis: I’m from Athens and have lived there until I finished school. Then I moved to London to study painting. Afterwards I did my Master’s in Chicago in “Alternative Photography and Video Art“.
After my studies, I returned to London to found my own studio. For 25 years I also worked as a lecturer at different art schools.
The artworks that I exhibited at the time were a dialogue between painting and sculpture. Moreover, I was involved in different installations and interior design projects.
G-Pulse Editor: I was very fond of your products that you showcased at 100%Design London. How did you get the idea? What inspired you?
Stathis: The „Tower“ and „Lantern“ designs are inspired by architecture and theatre design, particularly its sense of space, drama and scale. In a way, they derive from designs of my former paper sculptures. The quality of the light, as well as its effect on the paper and the many technical requirements were crucial in the development and realisation of the first ideas.
G-Pulse Editor: How did you find your interest in paper design and what makes it so fascinating?
Stathis: I can remember playing with pulp in my father’s paper factory. Later, I built model airplanes out of paper and balsa wood. I always liked how easily the material can be manipulated.
After a large exhibition of my three-dimensional canvases, I began to experiment and created shapes out of thick watercolour paper. In contrast to the previous works, which were precise and labour-intensive, these works came spontaneously. The only restriction that I imposed on myself: each form had to be scored from a single piece of paper!
G-Pulse Editor: What distinguishes your lights from others? What is special about them?
Stathis: My ambition is to create designs that enhance the room they are in, whether the lamps are on or off. Even during the day, the natural light interacts with the angular and curved shapes of the paper, giving them a quiet, slightly sculptural presence.
Because the design of the paper is not symmetrical, shape and intensity of the light change – depending on the viewing angle.
G-Pulse Editor: Your products are made from three essential components: Aluminium, Japanese technology paper and illuminant. Why did you choose this combination of materials?
Stathis: Paper has always been used in light design. It is well suited for concealing light sources and creating a warm atmosphere. I wanted to extend this tradition. For my designs, I used new technology paper from Japan and Germany. It has the advantages of being tear-resistant, colour-fast and waterproof. Unlike standard paper, you do not need a “supporting structure“, because it is very strong and durable. This creates fluid shapes.
The aluminium gives structure to the designs and encloses the LED lights. The way in which the LED colours react with the Perspex and the paper has always fascinated me. This combination of materials results in modern, sculptural and organic designs.
G-Pulse Editor: What is the best way to integrate your lamps into one’s own home?
Stathis: The light of the “Tower“ lamp is very soft and creates a warm ambient light that perfectly complements other light sources. Still, “Tower“ can change the mood of a space quite dramatically. The LEDs are dimmable and provide 20 different colours. They fit living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms well by creating a feel-good atmosphere. There is a water-resistant version of the lamp aswell, which can be used in outside spaces.
The design of the „Lantern“ lamp however is a rather traditional type of pendant light. It can be used in any part of the house. During the day, it has a quiet presence and in the evening, it reflects intricate patterns.
G-Pulse Editor: How are your ideas influenced by the topic of sustainability?
Stathis: Like many other designers, I have great interest in creating sustainable designs. That is why I pay attention to the materials that we use. Aluminium is a very sustainable metal. We also use recyclable paper and LED lights, which are much more efficient than light bulbs, for example. 95 percent of the energy is converted to light and only 5 percent wasted as heat. Moreover, we only take recyclable cardboard for our packaging.
G-Pulse Editor: Why did you make the choice to showcase your products at the “100%Design” exhibition? What makes the event special?
Stathis: It was our first participation in an exhibition and we chose to launch Small Rabbit Design at the exhibition in Olympia. It is a beautiful hall and “100%Design” is an internationally recognised design fair that gave us a good first exposure. I always felt that it manages to get emerging brands and large, well-known labels under one roof. We are very satisfied with the result – our expectations were definitely met.
G-Pulse Editor: One last question, Stathis. Is there a reason why you called your label “Small Rabbit Design“? The name does not immediatly imply lighting design.
Stathis: My surname Lagoudakis translates to “small rabbit“. I like that it’s playful and positive.
G-Pulse Editor: Thank you for the interesting conversation and the insights into your work.
We were very fond of the lamps at the design fair – look and feel both convinced us. The firmness of the material does not suggest that it is paper, it feels surprisingly unusual. The lights are not made to be primary light sources in a room, but they create an atmospheric light that can be adjusted in intensity and colour, depending on your needs.
The lights are not made to be primary light sources in a room, but they create an atmospheric light that can be adjusted in intensity and colour, depending on your needs.