30.01.2019 – Trends & Shopping

‘It’s quite magical’

Interview: Eva Hediger

Architects Eva Wüst and Fabian Bircher build living-room lighthouses that can communicate with each other. How do they work?

You and your girlfriend are both architects, but in your spare time you build tiny towers. Why do you do that?

It all came about by chance. As architects, we’re used to building models of our design ideas. I once gave Eva a lamp in the shape of a lighthouse, then she made me one in return for Christmas. These were the prototypes of our current model numbers 1 and 2. At that time we weren’t living together, and we suddenly thought it might be nice if we could communicate with each other via our lamps.

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‘We suddenly thought it might be nice if we could communicate with each other via our lamps.’

How do you mean?

They all contain a small microchip and can communicate with each other via Wi-Fi – anywhere in the world. The emotional experience is more important to us than the technicalities. It’s quite magical when they seem to light up of their own accord.

But isn’t it a bit old-fashioned?

We want to show people that they don’t always have to communicate via a screen. When I switch on the light in my tower, a light goes on in the other one, sending a signal that I’m home.

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It all sounds very romantic.

So far, it’s only possible to link up two lamps, so they’re ideal for couples, or grandparents and their grandchildren. We’re currently working on a skyscraper that can be linked to several lamps so that a family or group of friends can be connected in a building.

‘We want to show people that they don’t always have to communicate via a screen.’

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Do people sometimes just buy one lighthouse?

Yes, occasionally. They probably just use it as a decorative lamp. We’re doing that too at the moment because we live together now.

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You currently offer five different models with the biggest being 64 centimetres tall. But you also make smaller ones measuring about 30 centimetres.

So far, we have built all the lighthouses in our home studio. The big ones are very time-consuming to make so they’re quite expensive. That’s why we have also started to produce smaller models. These are also made of wood, but unlike the larger ones they’re equipped with LED light sources, which simplifies the technology and means you don’t need to change the bulbs. This makes them cheaper and more convenient, which is why they are currently our most popular items.

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