Interview: Couple Crafts Origami Lamps to Cast a Statement-Making Glow in Your Home

3D Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe

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Nellianna van den Baard and her husband Kenneth Veenenbos of Studio Snowpuppe craft statement-making lighting for the home. Guided by principles of origami folding, their hanging pendants are beautiful and functional without being ostentatious. The distinctive designs are clad in a single color (sometimes two), and their pleats and creases produce striking shapes and shadows that are interesting to look at but maintain a minimalist aesthetic. Each is formed from paper or wood, as the materials are more sustainable and carry out the design's primary function of easing harsh lighting and casting a cozy glow in the surrounding space.

Baard and Veenenbos are formally trained in architecture and industrial design, and their learned skills have helped them develop product ideas and the technical aspects necessary to produce them in larger quantities. But at the same time, they aren't afraid to buck traditional design processes and listen to their intuition as it guides them in creating compelling fanned or angular lampshades.

Studio Snowpuppe sells its work through its popular Etsy shop. They also share many practical origami projects in their first book, Better Living Through Origami. My Modern Met has the chance to speak with Baard about learning origami and what’s on the horizon for their shop. Scroll down to read our interview.

3D Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe 3D Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe

When did you first become interested in lighting? 

Interest in lighting really started when my husband started to rent his first apartment in 2008. We were looking for something affordable, colorful, and special. At that time, we could not easily find something that matched these criteria.

You discovered origami in 2010. What were some of your first creations like? How long did it take you to begin to fold your own designs?

I started origami with tutorials from the internet and the first creations were spheres made of baking paper. It took some months before I had enough courage to work on my own designs.

3D Origami Artists Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe

What is the most technically challenging lampshade you've created? How long did it take you to develop?

The Signature lampshade was the first lamp that we made and at first, it was a lot of work to make it. It took almost 8 hours to make and it was quite a challenge.

In the beginning, I made this lamp completely by hand and I was not yet very experienced with folding paper. Making a mistake meant that I could start all over.

Currently, the lampshades are made partly with a machine and partly by hand. The folds are pressed in the paper with a machine and the folding work is still completely done by hand.

3D Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe Origami Wood Lamp

You have a specific process that your products go through before they ever make it to your shop. Can you walk us through that? 

A new product starts with a very rough idea that needs to be tested with test models. We always test these models in our own homes to see if we like the shape and the ambiance that it creates.

When the idea still seems interesting after making the test models, there are often some issues to solve to make it possible to produce the product for a feasible price.

When all that has been solved, I often launch the product on Etsy to find out if people would like to have it and if they are happy with it.

What are your future plans for Studio Snowpuppe?

We are working on a lamp in the shape of a whale. Also, we are working on a larger version of the Chestnut lamp, that comes as a DIY kit.

Origami Lamps by Studio Snowpuppe 3D Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe Origami Lamps by Studio Snowpuppe Origami Wood Lamp 3D Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe Origami Wood Lamp Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe Origami Lamp by Studio Snowpuppe

Studio Snowpuppe: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Etsy

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Nellianna van den Baard.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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