Coral Motifs

Coral Motifs
By Kelly Cooper

While perusing the blogosphere, we found that one ornamental underwater organism has breached its deep-sea habitat and found its way onto coffee tables everywhere. Coral motifs are surfacing in the realm of home accessories in color and construction.

Perhaps the most innovative use of this subaquatic treasure is shown through the Hyphae Lamp from Nervous System. This fixture is an organic interpretation of the natural growth of a leaf, which in turn creates a coral-like pattern—and makes for an incredible lighting display.

But this lamp deserves more than to be perched on a forgotten end-table. Built using a custom design software and a 3D printing process, this lamp may be at the forefront of experimental construction of tangible objects—a demonstration of how printing is becoming a means to build.

Nervous System covers the eco-issue by equipping the lamps with LED bulbs that only use 3.6 watts of electricity.

The selling point of this delicate beacon lies in the exploration—and success—of what 3D printing offers designers. Because the lamps are “grown” using random algorithmic equations, each piece is created with its own set of blueprints, thus creating one-of-a-kind products, every time.

And that’s not all. This printing process requires no molds and produces minimal waste. Further, each lamp comes equipped with an LED light bulb built to last six years. Eco-friendly test: passed.

The lamps were designed to mimic the patterns of foliage veins which differ from leaf to leaf. The design team accomplished this by using a custom software and 3D printing process.

Check out more of the design’s backstory at

Read more: 

Kelly Cooper is a senior Graphic Communications major at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. As an intern at Dwell, she is taking notes about the ins and outs of the magazine industry. When not in the office (she’s on a draining 3-day work week), she can be found discovering her inner foodie around town or playing Ultimate Frisbee in Berkeley. Check out Kelly’s blog at


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