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Sabu Studio creates handmade Onu lights from split timber

Australian furniture studio Sabu Studio has designed the Onu Series, a pendant and floor light made from wood that has been split to create an eye-catching light source.

The Onu floor light and Onu pendant light, which have been shortlisted in the lightning design category of the 2022 Dezeen Awards, were handmade by Sabu Studio with the aim of combining traditional woodworking techniques with contemporary design.

Photograph of two wooden floor lights in a white space
The lights were designed to evoke nature

According to Sabu Studio, the Onu Series was designed in response to “rapid urbanisation” and aims to reconnect urban interiors with the natural world. The lights come in a number of different types of wood, including oak and walnut.

“The designs aim to reveal a suggestion of the natural environment,” Sabu Studio founder Samuel Burns told Dezeen. “I believe even the act of utilising a natural material, like timber, provokes enough connotations of the natural landscape, and in turn introduces it into interior spaces.”

Photograph of the pendant's opening
The pendant light has a prominent split

The splitting of the wood creates a parting in the lamps, in which the studio has placed LED lights. Sabu Studio used bent lamination and hand-shaping techniques to create the split.

“The two halves were constructed using the bent lamination technique, and then subsequently formed and shaped with the use of a router,” said the studio.

“This was used in creating the channel for the LED strip, the light diffuser, as well as the round-over.”

Thanks to hidden internal fixings housed in the timber, the Onu lights were designed so that they can be disassembled to replace the LEDs and therefore last longer. The studio made a number of prototypes to work out what mechanism to use.

“The challenge was more to do with the trial and error within the initial prototyping, to discovering what fixing and mechanism would work best,” explained Sabu Studio.

Photograph of the Onu Floor Light showcasing its warm light
The hidden fixings of the Onu Series enable the warm LED lights to be replaced

“[We made] an investigation into defining the correct design and components in order to allow for a seamless design with the ability to be completely disassembled if necessary,” the studio added.

Other products shortlisted in the category include pendants made from leftover aluminium profiles by MVRDV and Signals, a family of lights with conical mouthblown glass shades by Barber Osgerby.

The photography is Samuel Burns.

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