After a career at Gap Inc., in Architecture & Design Development, Max Gunawan decided that what he really wanted to do was to bring great design to everyday objects. He felt an urge to work with his hands, to connect and to collaborate with people. And judging by the success of his two-week old Kickstarter project for Lumio — a modern lamp with infinite possibilities — he has done just exactly that.
I sat down with Max to learn about his stunning new project at the Makeshift Society — a clubhouse for creatives in San Francisco, where we both co-work.
Though he originally wanted to build something much larger — a folding, modular house — he quickly realized that this goal would require a significant amount of start-up capital. So, he started thinking on smaller terms. He'd been inspired by the spectacular Rolling Bridge in London, which unfurls across Grand Union Canal every Friday at noon.
And then, one day when he was flipping through his Moleskine notebook, a task he'd done thousands of times before, inspiration became innovation: the idea for Lumio struck. He ripped out the inside of that notebook, and set to work. Four months later, he had a working prototype for Lumio: an illuminated, portable lamp that turns on and off when you open or close it, and conveniently folds into a book when it is not in use.
When I asked Max how he felt after doing what he'd set out to do — to build something, to create something that he could be proud of, to connect with people — he said it had been "amazingly satisfying." As we chatted across a metal school-like desk, Lumio shining brightly between us, curious co-working colleagues crowded around us to see what this flickering on-and-off light was all about. "It's that element of surprise," Max said. "It's not what you expect when you look at a book."
With an initial fundraising goal of $60,000, Max's kickstarter project has already raised $337,558 from 3,079 backers. The Lumio weighs about one pound, has an eight-hour battery, and the portable, collapsible lamp will retail for about $135.