About this project
The first ceiling hook designed specifically for cable hung pendant lights, the Little Bishop holds your light fittings in saintly style.
Skilfully shaped and cast by hand, the cable is guided to "cloak" the Little Bishop with no knot, and a seamless hang from the ceiling makes it genuinely unique in form and function.
Where design meets art you’ll find the Little Bishop.
Shortly after completing my studies (I am a qualified Jeweller and Industrial Designer), I got sidetracked by the increasingly popular World Wide Web. I was drawn to the emerging digital media industry and found myself in the advertising game.
For many years I provided creative digital and print design services to my own clients in addition to managing and running an interior design business with my partner Dominique Hunter – hence Hunter & Richards.
Recently, I became frustrated with design for the screen. It wasn’t “solid” enough for me. I wanted to be able to pick up and touch my creations. So over the last year, I’ve been gradually returning to my true passion – crafted, quality product design.
HOW LITTLE BISHOP BEGAN
One day last year, Dominique returned to the office after a site visit where she was installing some elegant pendant lights in a dinning room. She was annoyed that yet again she was unable to find a suitable hook to hang and position the lights she had specified for her client.
The problem – there were no hooks made specifically to hang and position cable hung light fittings.
Not wanting to knot the cable, the only solution available was to use brass hooks and cable ties – definitely NOT appropriate for the beautiful light fittings she had chosen.
The contrast between the quality of the light fittings and the budget priced hooks was obvious. Even though the brass hooks were small, in combination with the cable ties they made the flow of the cable awkward and unsightly. There was no visual "drop" – the cable bowed in an ungainly manner and the hook didn't look like it was part of either the house or the light fitting.
So we decided to come up with our own solution. The goal was to make a hook that was simple in function where no knot was required to suspend a light fitting, and for the light to feel like it hung naturally from the ceiling. The hook was to guide the cable as it ascended after it's initial fall from the rose (where the cable goes into the ceiling), then drop sharply to suspend the light. The hook was not to be a feature, it was to look like part of the home.
Early sketches were very basic. Holes and grooves in square blocks. These were not pretty, but a decision was made here that would help drive the final design – to have the cable lock itself down – eliminating the need for any cumbersome clamps, screws, bolts or pins. This meant that the cable was to become a feature of the hook. After all, form follows function!
As a hands-on person and from my past experiences crafting jewellery, I found myself drawn to the workshop where I sourced some timber rod offcuts. Early drilling attempts worked in a very basic sense but did not allow the cable to flow.
So out came the Dremel (a small hand held power tool that's great for detailed work), and with a ball-nosed routing bit, I carefully shaped a flowing channel that could house a standard sized electrical cable (around 6mm diameter). It was a slow process, with some skill involved in crafting such a complex shape, however I knew I was heading in the right direction.
Once I had this first wooden prototype, the next step was to reproduce it. I got in touch with a good friend (and another industrial designer) who’s a whiz when it comes to getting prototypes to manufacture – Jake Tankel. He started to reproduce the shape using CAD software, but we found that capturing the flow of the shape I had hand crafted was going to be too difficult. So we stuck with the good old hand-made method, using the existing wooden prototype and the age-old, tried and tested casting process.
We made a one-part silicone mould and then reproduced the hook (at this stage it was one complete unit with no separate "post" section as seen in the final images) using a quick set resin.
Three hooks were made to replace the brass hooks and cable ties used in our client's dining room. We were very pleased with the result.
This spurred me on to refine the hook. I used another reproduction and built up the form using putty to create a much sharper and more refined structure that really locked the cable in place, which took a lot of time as I was learning how to sculpt the resin, building it up in places, carving and sanding in others. Build up, wait to set, sand, repeat!
During this time as the form of a cloaked figure emerged the name came to me – the little bishop. It had a nice ring to it, and the connotation of looking up (the spiritual connection!) to the ceiling worked well.
I also learned when installing the first prototypes that our solution required a two part design consisting of the hook and a separate post, allowing the hook to be adjusted to the correct angle to accept the cable coming from the ceiling rose, as well as now offering a variety of post heights.
So now I had a great prototype. I tested it to make sure it would hold up a decent weight (around 3kgs), photographed it, and created the identity and packaging.
With Jake’s help, a plastics manufacturer was engaged, who has helped refine things further. The final version will use a poly resin and the surface finish will be matt in texture to accept paint. Most importantly, the fitting between the hook and post sections has been upgraded to a silicone "mushroom" fit, providing an easy-to-fit join and a smooth adjustment.
We are now in the Production Prototype phase working towards a final sample which upon approval will give the green light for our first production run.
TECH SPECFits Cable Diameter
5.5 – 7mm
Undercoated, top coat ready
40mm, 80mm & 120mm
Your support will help help get the Little Bishop into production and out to market. More importantly, it will be my first official product design, the first of many to come.
Great news US & EU Backers – look at the exchange rate. It's like getting 20%or more off.
The Little Bishop Light Hook is the first of a small stable of products based around the home and modern living.
From the success of this design will spring the opportunity to create more products that add value to people's personal and professional lives.
Thanks for checking out this Kickstarter project.
Many thanks to all Kickstarter backers who support the Little Bishop Light Hook.
And a big thanks to all my friends and family that have provided encouragement along the way.
The Little Bishop would not have started or been developed if it wasn't for Dominique Hunter – you're awesome!
Risks and challenges
As you can see, I've taken this project a lot further than a basic prototype before coming to Kickstarter, so many issues and potential pitfalls have been dealt with already. This equates to minimal risk for backers and future buyers as the product is almost ready for production.
One possible area that could cause a some delay would be getting the "mushroom" fit correct with the edges fitting flush and smooth to create a minimal part line. As I've backed a few Kickstarter projects myself, I appreciate the value of regular and concise backer updates, so you can assure that you'd be kept in the loop.
As this product has undercuts and must be hand cast using individual silicone moulds, tooling costs are very low compared to a process like injection moulding. Our plastics manufacturers are very experienced in small size, large quantity plastic parts and items, having developed and produced products for the airline and toy industries to name a few.
The expectation is that by the time Kickstarter funding is granted, production will have commenced using personal funds regardless of the Kickstarter outcome.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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