The word “pip” commonly means a “spot” or a “speck”, and within the context of the game of dominoes, the word “pip” refers to the dots on either end of a domino tile. Each end of the tile contains a number, represented by an arrangement of pips.
The Pip lamp was inspired by this using various different arrangements or layering to change value and function. Pip is a modular lighting & charging system where each of the core components is separated into its own layer. Similar to Phonebloks and other modular electronic devices Pip takes advantage of rapid changes in technology but not in the way you might think.
While users would take advantage of swapping out parts for newer versions designer Richard Clarkson acknowledges that the real benefit comes from giving manufactures increased flexibility within a product line.
Richard conducted a Life Cycle Assessment of an existing IKEA solar lamp using the Sustainable Minds software to gauge how impactful the lamp was on the environment. Richard concluded that it was the battery component that contributed the most to the overall impact. Using the software Richard was able to break the lamp down and evaluate impact of each section of its life, including raw material collection, production, use, end of life and transport.
The data showed that the production of the Battery component was not worth the decrease in mains power that the lamp might have used if it had been designed to be plugged into the wall. In fact the solar lamp was 35% worse for the environment than a regular lamp.
While this figure was troubling Richard argued that sometimes in order to move forward one must go backwards first. Rather than take a negative approach Richard sought to design a lamp that would be the least impactful while going backwards and help to speed up the whole process in order to move forward faster.