Reimagining an iconic design is no small matter. For designer Stephan Copeland, it held the extra pressure of taking on a design from his childhood: the classic L-1 architect lamp by Luxo—also known as Pixar’s mischievous mascot. The result, the Ovelo light, was Copeland’s modern interpretation of the iconic design for the era of efficient LED lighting technology.
What did you think when Luxo approached you to design Ovelo as an update to their L-1 lamp?
I was excited, but it was certainly stressful. The L-1 sat on my desk as a kid. It’s one of the most refined and efficient designs you’ll experience. Professionally, I’ve competed against it for 20 years. Now I was given the opportunity to imagine it for the LED era.
How was LED technology an influence on the design?
It was. The small size of LEDs and lack of heat, offered so many design options. The most obvious was reducing the size of the lamp’s head. But more importantly, LEDs allowed the center of the lamp’s head to be left open, turning the entire head into a handle, a comfortable point for somone to grasp and adjust the lamp.
Aesthetically, Ovelo is quite different than L-1. Why not follow the design cues of the classic more closely?
I wanted Ovelo to be peaceful, and to encourage interaction and natural adjustment, so I spent a lot of time developing new imagery for the lamp. Designing the head to be a handle was one aspect of this. Another was enclosing all of the components—electrical, the arm mechanism of L-1, and all of the fasteners—in a smooth case. If you run your hand over the body of Ovelo, there is nothing to catch it.
I hope that people find Ovelo approachable and easy to adjust, because in the end, that is the purpose of a desk lamp—to put the right amount of light right where you need it.