A Queens-based design studio is using Kickstarter to help turn a bright idea into a best-selling product.
HsinChun Wang and Ye Liu founded HCWD Studio in Sunnyside as a part-time venture in 2010, finally going full-time just over a year ago, with current plans to move to Astoria.
The design duo began making one-of-a-kind pieces, such as conceptual furniture, that they showcased in galleries and design shows, and have also done landscape and interior design work, but eventually they wanted to make more affordable, mass-produced products.
“Doing a conceptual project is fun, but it’s away from people’s everyday life,” Wang said.
As part of that effort, the studio has come up with several lighting products including its latest — Brick Lamp — and has turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter to help its production.
“The objective is to capture the moment of light — being concealed and revealed. This unique lighting design would turn a quotidian routine into an enriching experience, providing an unexpected, fun quality to a daily object,” a description of the product reads on its Kickstarter page.
As its name suggests, the LED lamp is shaped somewhat like a brick, with beveled sides so it is easy to grab and handle. The light has no on or off switch and is activated when it’s on its side; it can also be flipped upside down to let the side with the light shine upward.
“It’s practical and has everyday function, but people can still play with it,” Wang said.
A prototype of the light charged via an electric socket, but Wang said they wanted to create a more modern product so they not only downsized the lamp but also decided to make it more portable. They put in a built-in battery, which charges using a USB plug and has up to five hours of usage.
In the last year, HCWD Studio showcased prototypes of the Brick Lamp at design shows and fairs around the world and on March 11 launched their Kickstarter campaign to help with the investment required to mass produce the product.
Between word of mouth from friends and design contacts, and being selected as a Kickstarter staff pick, they were able to reach their $22,000 goal within about 10 days. The Kickstarter ends on April 22, and has raised just over $26,000 as of Monday morning. With the extra money, they are hoping to create a fabric cord and additional finishes for the lamp.
Those that pledge $99 to or more will receive a Brick Lamp, which comes in concrete, walnut and a special edition aluminum version.
The studio plans on selling the concrete lamp for $110, the walnut for $145 and the aluminum for $300, and hopes to get it into other stores soon, and one day open their own outlet.
Wang admits the lamp isn’t for everyone — it’s for those who appreciate high-end products, he said, and “like the shape and innovation behind it.”