Like most entrepreneurs, industrial designer Philip Ross has a passion. In his case, it is intelligent lighting. Or more specifically, creating lighting that’s more intuitive and human. In his quest to introduce a new design philosophy to the lighting sector, Philip sought the assistance of Materialise. Thanks to the creation of a high-quality prototype and small series of key pieces, Materialise was able to help Philip transform his passion into a world class consumer product: the Fonckel One.

Taking Design to Another Level

As a PhD student at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Philip Ross began doing research into intelligent consumer products and started wondering why these products were so frequently based on standard menu control systems rather than on the natural skills of human beings.  He questioned why, when people can do such interesting things with their bodies, was product interaction typically limited to pressing buttons and rotating dials?  Seeking an answer, Philip developed the Fonckel One, a lamp based on an “intuitive gesture control system”.  This system would enable the user to control light as if they were trying to shape it with their own hands.  After receiving an enthusiastic response to his design, an intellectual patent, and a government grant, Philip began the necessary steps to bring the product to market.  With Light & Building, (the world’s largest trade fair for lighting), fast approaching, Philip needed high-quality, affordable pieces for display and commercial selling purposes.


Bringing a High-Quality Product to Market, Quickly

With quality and timing being critical, Philip approached Materialise to help make his vision a tangible reality.  After transforming Philip’s 3D CAD drawings into a prototype, (using epoxy and polyamide, and the Additive Manufacturing technologies of Laser Sintering and Stereolithography), Materialise created a mold and then vacuum casted a number of parts for a small series of 11 lamps.  These parts included lamp bases, and fully transparent LED covers and prisms, with quality and appearance being especially key for the latter part, which serves an important optical function in the Fonckel One.  In the end, quotation to delivery of final parts took only 12 working days.  And in the words of Philip Ross, “Materialise was very competitive in terms of price, speed and quality.”


A Bright Future Ahead

The Fonckel One prototype and small series were displayed to great acclaim at Light & Building in Frankfurt. The first industrialized products will be seen at the Interieur event in Kortrijk, Belgium. The response has been so positive that Philip and his team are currently developing other products based on the same intuitive gesture control system.

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