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Knappa Klöver Lamp from IKEA

Ken’ichi wrote me the other day, asking about the Knappa Klöver lamp from IKEA:

Do you know the lamp sold in Ikea called Knappa Klöver? I am more interested in the floor lamp version. I have attached a pic of this lamp, and I was wondering if you know how one comes about in making it?

So I sat down and thought about it a bit, and came up with a solution. Here’s my reply:

I haven’t seen this lamp in IKEA- I try to avoid going to the local IKEA and wandering through the lamp area, because I want to buy them all… but looking at the picture, I can make some guesses at how it is made.

If you look at the attached image, I traced over some of the shapes on the lamp: the basic structure is an icosahedron (nice info here: http://www.miracerros.com/artwork/g_sphere_layout.htm)

So, since the basic structure is an icosahedron, that means that each vertex of the icosahedron has five lines meeting together. This means the lamp is made up completely from pentagonal petal shapes.

I can’t tell how the five petals are held together at the center; maybe either glue, or some little connector piece? or perhaps they are cut lower down, and connected together with another spherical shape that has five slots in it? Anyway, they are connected together somehow- I’d probably make a small plastic piece to hold them all at the right angle- and they all have identical slots cut below the center line of the circle, to connect the pentagonal flowers together.

There should be 12 flower shapes, as the icosahedron has 12 vertices; this would require cutting out 60 circles of some sort of plastic, maybe light polypropylene?

A very simple lamp, but nicely designed. I’m sure, given IKEA’s “flat pack” philosophy, that all of this is stamped or laser cut and bundled together in a small box. With the right cutting equipment you could make a lot of these, really fast.

Now that I think about it, since they are cutting all this from one sheet of plastic, the connector piece for the center of the pentagonal flowers is probably also cut out from this same plastic, because that would make the design a lot cheaper. Some experimentation with cutting smaller disks of plastic with 5 slots in them would most likely find a solution.

I’d love a job designing such things, I think it would be a lot of fun!

Here’s the image I was working on, which shows the icosahedron hiding underneath all those circular petals.

knappa klover
(image from anjapepunkt on flickr)

UPDATE:

Ken’ichi found someone with photos of the Knappa Klover construction manual on flickr! That helps a lot, and it shows that the lamp is much simpler than I thought.

It’s just triangle-shaped pieces with circular tips, and slots cut in them- so you just assemble all the sides of the icosahedron from these triangle bits, and they lock together. Very neat. I should have expected it would be something so clever, coming from IKEA…

9 Comments

  1. Ken'ichi says

    Hi Eric, thanks for your email and explanation. They prompted me to do more research into the subject. I have found this flikr site where the Flickerer actually put up pics of the Klöver instruction manual (http://www.flickr.com/photos/shinerclay/375357752/in/set-72157594453866661/).

    Very interesting, but without the object at hand, I fail to see how the lamp is constructed. No glue seems to be used, and each element of the lamp is like a “propellar”. How do you make a propeller from a flat piece of plastic?

    The joining system is not very clear either. Anyone care to illuminate me on the above points?

    Thanks

  2. It looks to me like the triangle pieces that make up this lamp all have slots cut in the ends, and they slot together- this holds them all in place due to tension, when the piece is fully assembled. Very clever.

    No need for glue, and the pieces are all just cut out of a sheet of plastic- each triangle shape has circular ends, but it’s all *flat*. Each triangle piece is a side of an icosahedron, and thusly the circular bits for each triangle piece extend past the sides and look curved when they really aren’t.

    The easiest thing would be to copy the general shape that is shown in those construction diagrams, make 20 of them, and try assembling the lamp yourself.

    Or, of course, buy one 🙂

  3. Christine says

    Ken’ichi I would recommend you go to George Hart’s website and construct some of his polyhedrons that go together. He has templates on the website and Eric has a link.

  4. Ken'ichi says

    Thanks Christine! OMG OMG, those are the most interesting geometrical shapes that I have ever seen! OMG OMG!

    I shall attempt some of them, but can’t seem to find the links for his templates…

  5. Ronin Rose says

    Seems that since this is a lamp, it would make sense that there wouldn’t be a centerpiece holding it all together, because typically the light has to be in the center as that way it is furthest away from all the surface, and won’t heat up the plastic too much.

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