It all started in 2012 when a design studio by the name of Rux dropped a product at International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York called the Stickbulb. It looked as much like a coat rack as it did a light, but thanks to the rising popularity of LEDs, it took up less space than the average floor lamp. At a time when designers were more fixated on pendants and lanterns, the Stickbulb was fresh. It was original. People rightfully went gaga for it.
Fast forward to ICFF 2015. Rux is alive and well. The Stickbulb has expanded into a full collection. But within eyeshot of Rux’s booth, there are a dozen other companies who took the same idea and ran with it. Some products are near indistinguishable from the original Stickbulb. And walking around the rest of the show floor, it isn’t hard to see this obsession among lighting designers goes beyond a mere stick; branches, trees, vines…the show has become a certifiable light forest.
Some designs were good, some designs were bad. Many of these spindly lighting fixtures used a strip of LEDs. Others used bulbs at the end, like they were pieces of fruit. But regardless of their individual merits, seeing them all next to each other made it painfully evident that it’s maybe time to find some new inspiration. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Here is the product line that more or less set off this whole craze. The design is good. At one point, it was also original.
This is a stick.
Here are multiple sticks.
And here are some more sticks.
Sticks hanging from the ceiling are still sticks.
This is a curved and twisted stick, but it’s also still a stick.
Here’s a stick, surrounded by other sticks, trying hard not to be confused for the original stick.
This stick brightens and dims itself as you move it around the frame, which is cool, I guess.
This stick at least has the common courtesy to charge your phone.
And I can respect that these designers used their sticks to build an umbrella.
But this is just a literal stick with lights on it.
A stick made for a desk doesn’t mean it’s not a stick.
Displaying your lamp next to an actual stick makes that shit a stick light. No exceptions.
I know a goddamn leaf when I see one. Stick.
I’d argue that coral is just a stick that lives underwater.
And this is probably what sticks will look like after the robots kill us all.
All subtlety went out the window with this design.
Something, something, something, low hanging fruit.
Yes, grapes are bound together by sticks, too.
Welp, here’s the most literal manifestation of this metaphor you will find.
Even this guy is bored to death.