The most fascinating part of lighting is that it generates many aspects of affection

Senior Designer Li,Hui Lun (White)

Enjoy every sparkle-filled moment in life and always want to share happiness with people, Li, Hui-Lun (White), the senior designer in Seed, who has a comforting effect on people, all these years she has turned from a childlike perspective in early career toward social and environmental concerns to her career later on. The keen observation has generated her designs in various styles and interpreted new light effects. Among her well received works OLO, LING, HOODIE, SIRCLE series and more, the OLO Φ table lamp has just been honored by the 2021 Red Dot award. 

Your recent work, OLO, how did the idea come about?

It actually started from my observation about the evolution of lighting.

Graphically, people used to associate the trapezoid form with the shape of lamp, for instance, the previous collections in Seed, Concom, or China, those all came with a trapezoid lamp shade that people are familiar with. When the light sources evolved from traditional bulbs to well performing LEDs, it triggered me to reinterpret this type of lamp. The shape of the head is probably the most noticeable feature. It ‘s an even more familiar outline like the most obvious, definitive shape a lamp could be. The light source is a LED strip covered with a translucent diffuser panel which deflects the light out at an angle away and in the meantime leaves a space inside of the shade.

Along with OLO’s successful debut, we were satisfied with the innovative lampshade so we attempted to extend the collection with additional reading light. Through the process of the back and forth development I again realized the more difficult to approach, the design is usually less good. In the end, the less I have to do with the project the better it is. It’s all about the balance between the object and the space, and here comes the final version as you can see which fits as many types of different architectural atmospheres as possible.

▲ OLO table lamp

▲ OLO pendant (PC8)

Are there any obstacles during the OLO development process?

To realize this rather innovative product, we spent most of our time in the engineering phase from the thickness of the lampshade to the lighting performance. Our team kept adjusting all the factors by back and forth experiments to ensure its basic heat dissipation capability and ideally even light, we want the way of sending the light out to be invisible yet with sufficient brightness.

I would have thought about other features, but as I said, the more busy is usually the less good design in the end. When all the proportions are as good as they can be it kind of just tells me it’s complete.

How does it feel to win the Red Dot Design Award?

I used to be satisfied as long as people liked my designs, I never thought about being awarded. I mean it’s not my job. So I wasn’t expecting too much when the marketing team was applying for the competition until I was informed of the prize, I was surprised like “Wow! all the universe conspires in helping us to achieve!”

Although the prize is put on my name, I feel it’s not my personal aura, but all the team members deserve appreciation. So I like to thank all the partners in Seed, the photographer, every person who has been involved in this journey. Thanks for all of their contributions that made this happen. 

Recently affected by the epidemic, MD just mentioned the concept, the power of human’s essence. He explained that even though we are in a tougher time, we do our best as what we always do, making good products, taking care of the details, eventually that essence will still be seen. Just like winning an award, before then it took a lot of effort to make the OLO debut, in the process there are good things and good people blended together and gradually we made it happen!

▲ OLO Φ table lamp

Use a hashtag to describe your products

It’s hard to describe in one word.  I hope to convey #comfortable and #practical feelings through my works, to provide people physical and emotional stability. It does not scream for attention to be the centerpiece of the room. I’m always delighted to see how people treasure their daily essentials as if treating their old pal. I guess companionship is the core value I’d like to bring into my works.

Another hashtag would be #childlike. I expected that when people received a product, they would be as happy as a child who got a new toy. They will be attracted by its outline, structure and color and go further to touch it, rotate it, have fun with it.

▲ White’s representative works.

From then till now, how would you describe your design thinking? Has it changed with time so far?

I’ve been quite lost sometimes in the initial stage of getting involved in the lighting industry. I was so focused on the “lamp” itself that sometimes I felt strapped by other iconic designs that influenced me a lot. 

Then I learned to see the objects from a broader perspective, paying attention to the space and interaction with users. This change has calmed me down and led me to break through the stereotypes. It also influenced me while simulating my works in 3D rendering. I used to set the products in a relatively clear background, now I would imagine people’s daily life and set up different user’s scenarios in response to various demands on lighting

Where do you find ideas for your work?

I’d immerse myself in various designs such as architecture, industrial products, crafts, illustrations. I’d then take the intriguing elements and all the observations start to take form in my mind.

You have now created a full range of lighting pieces, what are your guidelines through the designing process?

I’d evaluate the feasibility, the sustainable beauty, and the balance of the atmospheric effect an object has on its surroundings.

In SEED we work as a team, so usually I pitch my idea when it meets two of the above criteria. Because sometimes it’s not easy to find my blind side by myself, so I’d take this benefit of teamwork to gain fresh perspectives and to brainstorm a better idea.

Are there any new elements you’d like to experiment with in the next light?

I’d like to import something more localized, for instance, the terrazzo tiles, which is a heritage pattern from Taiwan. Implementation of terrazzo in architectural design, furniture and daily utensils is getting more common these days. In between various patterns and colors, I’m considering how lighting can emerge with such unique patterns. 

I have tried “Begonia Figured Glass” before, the rare vintage patterned glass is retro and nostalgic. However, this idea was discontinued considering the global marketing engaged with Seed brand image.

What is the one thing which fascinates you the most through the design process? How do you feel when seeing your works to be spotted in any of spaces?

I’m always so moved by how the lighting performs in a number of ways.

Lighting is a dynamic presence with its visual effect on-and-off, additionally you could use lighting in residential, commercial or studio spaces, and I think it will contribute well to the atmosphere of a wide range of situations with fresh notes, whereas while designing a furniture the shape relates automatically to the performance of the product. Lighting, however, brings an unpredictable rhythm with different materials butting up against each other to create a personal touch.

Sometimes I’d take a peek at how my colleagues plan for the product photography. Sometimes the image setting is a little different from what I imagined, which is a good thing as I get a chance to know others’ perspectives. Hopefully the process will prove the versatility in a general sense.

From time to time I’ve been asked “why lamps?”  I’m always delighted to see how people treasure their daily essentials. Rather than appliances which may become obsolete as the trend goes, lighting is one of them that particularly tends to stay in each family and solidify the relationship between people. I’ve seen some customers even buy a new SEED lamp when they relocate. As though a house can never be like home until the light is on. For all the reasons I devote myself in the lighting industry to develop and refine fixtures.