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In the case that you love watching products turn on a lathe as much as I do, you are in mucho luck today. Product designer Ingo Schuppler has recently released the lathe-heavy process video for his latest design, “Schwarzes Gold’. The coal-based lamp design is in response to Germany’s energy usage and, according to the designer “…about elaborating things more deeply and understanding the world around us better…it’s about designing a better future.”

Schwarzes Gold


“Schwarzes Gold” does not begin with its material nor end with its form. The lamp wants to bring light into the darkness by making people think. Its story is about responsibility, conviction, and sustainable design.
-Ingo Schuppler, designer

In his product description, Schuppler stresses that much consideration was given to the low-energy manufacturing process and the materials’ simplicity and their compatibility with nature including:

  • The black ‘lampshade’ is made out of 100% natural materials (charcoal)
  • The binding agent that holds the black ‘shade’ to the copper interior structure consists of flour, water, and FSC-certified charcoal.
  • The ‘lampshade’ in it’s liquid form is baked at a low temperature, which keeps the ecological footprint low
  • The copper acts as a reflector for the low-level energy-efficient LED bulb

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Currently, the burning of coal is still Germany’s number one energy source. The lamp’s ‘deep black’ coal wants to remind it’s users that they also carry a responsibility…and where their electricity is coming from. When ‘Schwarzes Gold’ reaches the end of its life span, the charcoal material can easily be dissolved in water. Thus, the lampshade is essentially 100% biodegradable and the remaining organic material can be recycled easily.

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“Today lamps with energy-saving light bulbs are titled as “eco-friendly.” For granted, saving energy is a fundamental principle for sustainable design, but it is only a fraction of the whole. In a time characterized by vanishing natural resources, climate change, and toxic waste, the eco-friendliness of a lamp depends on more than just its light bulb. The materials used, the production process, the packaging, and its disposal must be considered.”
-Ingo Schuppler, designer

Filed under: DESIGN FAB

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=822755054 Mark Young

    Very cool. Not sure I would think of coal by looking at it, but we need more products that connect our energy use with how it is produced. Most design attempts to hide that.