The Tuber Lamp is a complex configuration of nine intertwined rootlike forms whose twisting heads contain light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that shine in different directions to create a wash of light. Using a parametric modeling system, Dean designed a three-dimensional animated model that constantly evolves and mutates. The Tuber Lamp's virtual form grows and evolves within this system until a user freezes the model for production. The computer model is then "printed" out into an exact physical realization through laser sintering, a process in which particles of nylon are fused together layer by layer to create a three-dimensional mass.
This organic design and production process allows for endless variation within a defined framework while also incorporating the user into a seamless design and manufacturing process. Mass customization of design objects has become a realistic endeavor in recent years as rapid-prototyping techniques have improved; no two models of the Tuber Lamp are the same, although each bears a resemblance to the parametric model it came from. Through such projects as the Tuber Lamp, designers are working to revolutionize the role of the user in the design process and completely transform the ways in which materials are selected and assembled.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 252.