Crafted of folded white Tyvek, the light brings a new perspective to a traditional craft.
As artistic director of DesignTO, a non-profit arts organization that is best known for its annual design festival, I first encountered Rebecca Sun Collins’s work at the exhibition “Slanted/Enchanted” at the gallery Erin Stump Projects, part of the 2022 DesignTO Festival. Her Twofold Light stood out to me thanks to its texture, apparent simplicity and size. A large, pixelated octahedron, it’s crafted of folded white Tyvek – a material that is naturally durable and diffuses light. For Collins, it seemed logical to use the material this way because it acts like paper but is durable enough to withstand the folding and the patterning she creates with score lines. Like many of its pendant lamp predecessors, George Nelson’s Bubble lamp or Isamu Noguchi’s Akari light sculptures, what makes it a lamp is that there’s a light in it. It’s a bare bulb within a beautiful shade capable of spreading and diffusing light.
Collins interned at Jamie Wolfond Studio during her industrial design studies at Sheridan College, and she now works full-time with him as a designer. Her interest in paper folding and weaving started at the studio when Wolfond and Dutch designer Adrianus Kundert started Basketclub – an early pandemic project that began as a creative outlet and grew to become an international community of designers interested in weaving. When there was a scarcity of work in 2020, Basketclub was a necessary distraction, and a chance to focus on a craft, on learning from others both directly and by imitation.
For Collins, this was an opportunity to further engage in weaving using an easy-to-access material, and a way to bring a new perspective to a traditional craft. With a background in materials engineering, Collins has a unique approach to design. Wolfond notes that she didn’t start her career in design so isn’t as obsessed with the final result. Collins is curious about the process. “Design is a never-ending exploration. You get an object when you decide to stop,” she says. “There are always questions to ask to keep going.” REBECCASUNCOLLINS.COM DESIGNTO.ORG