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Issey Miyake Fashions Lamps Like Clothing

The iconic Japanese designer unveiled his pleated designs for Italian lighting company Artemide during Milan Design Week 2012.

Japanese fashion designer, Issey Miyake, famous for revolutionizing the pleating technique (in addition to being Steve Jobs’ go-to turtleneck designer) has adapted the fabrication technique he uses in his “132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE” collection in a five-piece line of lamps for Italian company Artemide.

Developed by his in-house research and development team Reality Lab, the “1” refers to the fact that one piece of clothing (or object) can become three-dimensional, “3,” while still able to fold flat back into 2D, or “2.” “5” stands for the the temporal dimension that exists after something is worn (or used), and according to his website, the number five symbolizes the future.


The lamp collection, called “IN-EI,” translates in English as “shadow,” “shade,” or “nuance,” and is designed almost exactly like the clothing line, as each piece is developed from one portion of cloth (made from recycled PET bottle fibre), can flatten to 2D, and expand into its full 3D glory. Both the clothes and the lamps hold their shapes without any interior support through a super technical process utilizing ultrasound machines and special technology that Miyake patented.

Hand folding the cloth in Miyake’s Reality Lab. Photo courtesy of

Press ironing the cloth Miyake’s Reality Lab. Photo courtesy of

When the cloth is hand folded and pressed into shapes with an iron, the fabric memorizes the structure it’s been given, and voila!

We think it’s cool that Miyake and his team have taken a technique used in fashion and applied it to something else entirely. What what other processes could be flipped or appropriated like that?! Check out the lamps below…

‘IN-EI tr 011’, front view. 50cm x 48cm x 44cm (LWH). Image © designboom

‘IN-EI tr011’, detail on folds. Image © designboom

‘IN-EI tr 011’, process of unfolding the lamp from its collapsed form.

Detail view of the fiber material used for the series. Image © designboom

‘IN-EI sq 004 s’, additional view. Image © designboom

‘IN-EI sq 004 s’, partially collapsed (left) and unfolded (right). Images © designboom