Thursday Salute to Originals: When Crinkles Spur Creation

In architecture, crumpled pieces of paper have strong connotations that bring divisive opinions on Frank Gehry’s process of designing sculptural buildings. Critics take offense to the hands-off approach that places greater importance on form rather than function. Proponents of this type of process tout it as quintessentially postmodern and reflective of current technology. Whatever your stance on Gehry’s process, it’s probably a strong one. So whenever we see paper-crumpling used as a design inspiration, it piques our interest. And this time it comes in the form of a topic close to our heart… lighting design.


The ethereal Proplamp is shaped like a crumpled piece of paper and is made from biodegradable nonwoven material. Users can change its shape, much like pruning a bouquet of flowers or tailoring an outfit.  The interaction is organic and completely dependent on the user’s intervention; creation is made accessible to the masses rather than the lone mastermind behind the design.

[proplamp by margje teeuwen & erwin zwiers from Product Margje on Vimeo]

Proplamp was developed in collaboration between Amsterdam-based designers Margje Teeuwen and Erwin Zwiers. Margje studied architecture but broke out of the mold by shifting her focus to emotional paintings of free flowing shapes. Erwin devoted his studies to furniture and product design, bringing a strong interest in materials. Proplamp was born as their paths crossed, described as a joining of “the feminine emotional research about paper shape and the masculine attitude of experimentation with new materials” (as quoted by LeFilRouge).



Unlike a Gehry building which most experience from photographs alone, the lamp is at a scale accessible for the general public to add to their homes and work environments. Our biggest conundrum is finding a place to hang this lamp in our office that allows us to reach it for frequent editing – which, knowing the vast personalities and design philosophies of this team, will be essential as casual-turned-intense-debates about its shape are sure to ensue!  So for spurring conversation and creative intervention (and for highlighting our newfound need for a custom engineered conference table to hold the weight of our entire team as we debate over the lamp’s shape!), we salute the creators of Proplamp. Happy crumpling everyone!

Image credits: Sam in Stul via LeFilRouge