My name is Steven Bush and I've designed a series of lamps which are made from concrete and use LED lights. I need your help to scale up and streamline production. The most effective way to do this is to have silicon forms made of the 6 designs.
With silicon forms I can progress onward and offer my designs to select retailers. The pledges on KS are calculated to be slightly above wholesale and that's the special deal you get for helping me now.
All lamps sold through the KickStarter project will be signed and numbered as part of this project. More images on Instagram and Facebook & Tungshape.com.
Since making the pitch film I've reduced my goals and scaled this down to just the cost of a few molds and the materials needed to get that done.
KS is an All-Or-Nothing deal - I must hit the target!
I've always loved concrete - especially as an interior element in home design. It's become so much more popular in interior design over the last 5-10 years - especially with kitchen counters and sinks. But the truth is I still think it looks the same in many ways. Designs are typically thick and blocky. I want to use concrete in a different way. Make it thin, curvy.... even perhaps (dare I say it?) elegant.
Another thing is the color, why is it usually grey? Why not add color - after all it's possible to get white cement.
Or, what if we put lights into the object? Or how about waterproof switches and transformers so they could work outside in the rain?
These were the thoughts that inspired me to start to design my lamps - and now, with your help, produce and share them with the world!
My inspiration for the shapes, colors and textures comes from stones. I've always loved the natural colors and textures of rocks. So I add colors to the cement to try to make them look a bit like stones. I also add 3-5 mm marble "crush" into the mix.
All the colors are natural mineral based pigments. There's quite a few colors available but not an infinite range. Certain pigments, like Lapis Lazuli are an ancient, highly prized color. It is very expensive. The cost and quantity of the pigment can have a direct effect on the cost of the lamp. For this campaign I am offering choices in these colors. 1 per lamp. If you really must have a blend - contact me.
The process & technical stuff.
When drying is complete (and it needs to "cure" for at least 10 days - 2 weeks to get a hard enough surface to polish) I grind & water-polish the lamps to give them a smooth finish. This also reveals the marble in the mix which gives the piece a more of a uniqueness and natural feeling. "Natural" is a relative term here - it can look like a natural stone or a crazy blue stone.
The 12 volt LED's are rated ip65 and are sealed into the concrete. These lamps can be used outdoors - with either a transformer which is rated ip65 or by housing the transformer in a water protected box. The in-line switches on the cords must be removed or made safe from water if used outside since they are not rated ip65. New switches which meet this rating are currently being tested. Remember that LED's are only 12 volts and thus don't pack any heavy duty electrical "kick". I see houses in the future being pre-wired with 12 volt contact and wall outlets. Nice to get rid of the transformers!
Larger lamps, such as the Desk lamp can have waterproof, stainless steel switches inserted into the body and the ip65 waterproof transformer is located in the base of the lamp. For this project I am offering only a simplified version with the switch on the cable.
Energy Use, Lifetime & Guarantee.
The LED's use very little energy, generate little heat at these wattage's and have a lifetime of approximately 50,000 hrs. The color temperature is K°3400 and is a "warm" yellowish light. If the lamps fail due to a manufacturing defect I will replace the entire unit free of cost to you. If a switch or transformer goes out over time, those are easily replaceable at little cost. I guarantee these items for 1 year free replacement, after that you pay the cost of the replacement part.
I specifically chose to make the lamps a permanent part of the piece. 50,000 hrs is a long time for a light to burn but it is a finite number and it means you must be aware of the limits and consider that when you use them.
"Production" yet still Unique.
Each piece is hand made and is a unique product. Even when using a mold to cast them, there are always variations in the final result - this is especially true when color is added. The pigment, stones, viscosity of the concrete and the time it's vibrated all contribute to create the final design. It's an "organic" part of the process which I feel is really nice due to the mass production of just about everything today.
When you order a lamp you must consider these variations and accept my decision that the piece is "done". It takes time to make these and I'm trying to keep this process simplified to make it realistic for me to do - so I appreciate your understanding!
As stated above, my goal is to finance forms - but there are of course many other areas which need financing help.
I need money to create the initial "positive masters", finish them and have my logo's made and set inside each form. These "masters" are what the silicon molds are cast from - so they must be as perfect as can be. (The Ellipse lamp I'm sanding in the pitch film is a "positive master")
Those are typically 1x costs. There's going to be a lot of other "ongoing" expenses like sourcing & testing new and various components, creating packaging, marketing materials and travel & fees for trade shows to further sales. But as I said, the focus of this campaign is to produce molds.
VAT, Shipping and Duties.
Sweden has 25% VAT on everything. The USA and other non-EU countries have no VAT added on a product bought from here - but import duties will likely apply. It depends upon the final cost of the item. Sweden has a level of around 1300 kr before the duties apply. This site has a calculator and general info.
I want to be clear to everyone that the price they see is the right price for their country - with the right shipping cost as well. KS wrote to me: "There is no way to choose your preferred currency for display. However, US backers will always be presented with an approximate conversion amount to USD when making a pledge."
Some campaigns proclaim "free shipping", but this is impossible. Those costs have been added into the total cost of the item. There is no way to get around shipping costs. KickStarter has just added more flexibility to their shipping options on each reward. Now I can add as many destinations as I wish. Please chose the one which is appropriate.
I am going to use UPS as my shipper. They are reliable, established and have a strong world wide presence.
1) Since I'm located in the EU, all EU member countries which purchase must add Swedish VAT (25%) to the reward they choose. Additionally you must add the shipping charges which applies to your country. No Duties apply.
2) Non EU countries inside Europe will need to add shipping costs and be prepared for an import duty added when the item arrives at their border.
3) USA, Canadian and others located in The Americas need to add shipping costs and be prepared for an import duty added when the item arrives at their border.
4) Asia. These lamps will ship from Sweden. Figure on some type of duty charge.
5) Australia & Oceania. These lamps will ship from Sweden. Figure on a duty charge.
I tested the concept this past July by renting a gallery space for 3 weeks in central Stockholm just to see the response. What I heard over and over was that people liked the designs and the simplicity of the forms. These primitive shapes seem to appeal to a wide range of people - from Japan, Kazakhstan and Peru to a whole bunch of other places - I was kinda amazed at the feedback. I sold a few as well!
The fact I can use a crowd funding site like KS frees me from having to go to the "traditional" sources of funding which have evolved out of our culture and capitalism driven society. I understand it is the system I am born into, but the option to get a little bit of money from many is a wonderfully romantic concept which I am grateful for.
I've put in a list of 30 countries and done the calculations for sending them via UPS and 2 day delivery on each lamp reward. If you don't see your country contact me and I'll set it up.
Risks and challenges
A little background:
A few years ago I made a series of documentaries for Ericsson featuring their Site Solutions development team. They came up with a way to make mobile telecom towers from concrete instead of steel lattice - thin walled tubular construction without any steel reinforcement. That's when I learned about High Performance Concrete - which is concrete jazzed up on chemicals and fibers. I was like, "Why don't we make cool curvy furniture which is really thin and elegant - not traditional looking CLUMPY designs." I tried to make a large piece of furniture, but I was unskilled and it was too much for me to finance, so I thought about it and scaled things down.
I wanted to put LED's into the concrete and use cool, nontraditional switches in the pieces. I saw how LED's were advancing and realized they had finally reached a point where it was realistic to do this. Their illumination lifetime got to a point where they would burn for 50,000 hrs average and the quality of the light itself was finally really nice - plus they were rated IP65 - which means waterproof.
The desk lamp was the first idea I produced which "worked" on both technical and aesthetic levels. From there I started to make other shapes - some were pretty big like the floor lamps,ceiling lamps and the outdoor ottoman. These larger pieces require steel re-enforcement and other techniques to make them safe and strong.
All this production has allowed me to test lights, switches, transformers, colors, materials, chemicals - you name it.
Along the way I met a young electric engineer who is as enthusiastic about lighting and technology as I am and he's now helping me to think of a new line of battery-driven, mini-usb charged, Bluetooth connected, phone charging lamps.
The molds will be made by a specialist in this field and he's helped solve design issues specific to the lights being placed in the silicon form. The molds are expensive but it's worth it if they make 100 lamps before seeing any deterioration of the mold.
I've now produced the Ellipse lamp mold in silicon and the process to produce a lamp has become more consistent. The techniques developed for this model will be carried throughout the line.
Additional issues I'm addressing:
The packaging design. I want them to travel safe and be in a proper box which is ecco friendlily and realistic in cost.
Ultimately I want the lamps produced by skilled people in the general geographical areas they are to be sold in.
The lamps, switches and transformers are all certified. I want to have everything re-examined and be certain it's all OK.
I've spent a few years working alone on these ideas. That process has been a long series of problem solving. I've a background as a fine carpenter and renovator and those skills have helped me to realize this project.
I am by nature a "do-it-yourselfer" and "fixer" - I hate to throw stuff away. I've spent long hours learning how to do this and collecting the tools and skills which allows me to make things. A good tool pays for itself quickly in the items you produce with it. The knowledge of what you can do with tools allows you to think wider creatively because you can create the solutions yourself. I find this very empowering.
As supporters you will become part of my journey to realize this dream. I will be diligent and honest in my reporting of progress. I do not doubt that there will be problems. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing your thoughts. I'm excited and happy and nervous for this to work, so I hope it can and will! Your support is truly appreciated!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)