With 3-D printing all the rage, the inkjet printer has lost a considerable amount of its luster, something it never had much of to begin with. Once a staple in nearly every household, they’re clunky things that have been shoved off to the side (or in my case, swept under a couch). They’re retrieved only in cases of desperate need, e.g., printing out movie tickets that you could have just picked up at the theater.
But it’s still a useful technology that some designers are revisiting for innovative ideas. One of them is Jean-Sébastien Lagrange, a French industrial designer known for his minimalist approach to, among other things, furniture. He’s developed a poster that doubles as a lamp and which can be printed right at home.
Or at least it will be soon. Lagrange’s L-Ink lamp consists just of pen, ink, and LEDs. A simple serpentine pattern is etched on paper in conductive ink, an emerging technology that’s set to replace the silver and graphite ink that fills most of our printers today. When that happens, you’ll be able to print as many of the hybrid posters as your dorm room (and roommate) can handle.
The idea, Lagrange tells Co.Design, was to design the most simple lamp possible. His affinity for the object is evidenced in previous designs for "paper lamps" and lanterns. With L-Ink, the lamp all but disappears, reduced to a handful of LEDs embedded in the poster sheet. A sole band of wires runs up the wall and is fixed to the poster’s underside to connect the patterned circuit to an electric source.
To turn the lights on, fold the bottom lip of the poster up. A magnet holds it in place and keep your night light burning all through the dark. In the morning, remove the magnet and the sheet slackens, undoing the circuit and shutting off the LEDs.
The process of assemblage and use couldn’t be easier, but what interests Lagrange more is how it unpacks typical modes of consumption. "[T]here is no more seller or editor. Just the user using a simple technology to produce his own product." The inket printer, revolutionizing one poster at a time.