It's tough to find a product that at once appeals to science nerds and design snobs, but we think we've hit on just the thing: Hyphae, a new series of algorithmically generated lights by Nervous System, a Massachusetts design studio known for 3-D printed jewelry. Each lamp is "grown" in a process modeled on how leaf veins form, and just as no two leaves have the same vein structure, every lamp is unique.
The collection was inspired by scientific research into how leaf veins develop, and why they differ from plant to plant. Nervous System explains:
A theory called "auxin flux canalization" explains venation as the result of the movement of the growth hormone auxin. A feedback mechanism makes it easier for auxin to flow where it has flowed before, and cells with high levels of auxin differentiate into vein cells.
Botany not your thing? No problem: The lights are also real pretty and, when illuminated, cast ethereal shadows through their coral-like shells. They're 3-D printed in nylon and come with three LEDs. The first 10 in the series are available for $600 each; others will be fabricated on demand.