Pierre Charpin’s versatile PC Portable can go anywhere, bringing light to cafe tables, dark corners of the living room, or even the garden. With its rechargeable battery and splash-proof shade and base, it is perfect for indoor and outdoor use, both at home and everywhere else.
We spoke to Charpin about his journey from PC Task Light to PC Portable, touching on the origins of the line as well as its evolution.
What is it about the PC Task Light that you felt made it a good candidate for adaptation into the PC Portable?
Originally, the USB portable version is a specific request from HAY. I think there is a real demand for this typology. As battery capacity increases, a lot of common objects such as lamps are becoming portable. following a new way of living. To talk about design, once we started working on the table version of the PC lamp, it was quite obvious that a portable version was possible. The lampshade of the portable lamp is the exact same size of the initial task lamp shade, the base fits perfectly in your hand and contains the technical elements.
Why create a portable outdoor version? What use do you personally feel it might satisfy?
The portable PC lamp is the minimalist typology, it creates a nice area of light to have a glass of red wine outside on a warm summer night.
The visual curve that connects all lights within this family is the shade, this sort of trumpet- or tulip shaped curve that feels both sleek and organic at the same time. How did you come up with this shape, and what was it that inspired you?
Yes, the shade is clearly the main characteristic of the range. Moreover it is interesting to say that during my first drawings for the PC lamp, it is this lampshade curve that has retained all the attention. It was therefore natural that the range be based on this element.
Structurally, the lampshade contains the light source, the central component of a lamp. I wanted to draw a curve which start from this light source and opens to diffuse the light. I played with this curve and counter-curve to accentuate this diffusion effect.
What is it about the PC Lamp that makes it so appealing across the board, so user-friendly, and so benign, perfect for adaption into the PC Portable and the other new PC typologies?
There are always so many ways to develop a project. For example, I could have taken a totally different direction and designed a task lamp with a very present high tech feel. On the contrary, even though the PC lamp is rather technical and that had an obvious impact on the design, I clearly decided that I didn't want to highlight this side of the object.
What interested me was to see the lamp as a presence, as a part of the domestic landscape. I wanted the object to be readable as a whole, in French I would say a silhouette. Color has a very important role to express that, using a single color helps to unify the different elements and materials together. I often talk about the sensuality in design. I wanted this lamp to be more sensual than technical, to make the object less demonstrative and more user-friendly.
What was it like for you to work with HAY on this product? How do you feel the DNA of the company and your own personal vision for you work came together to result in the product?
As Hay was developing its first lighting collection, we worked on the PC lamp project with the common desire to propose a sophisticated and affordable product.
HAY offers design that fits in the home as well as in the workplace and as a designer I want to design object that can easily cross the border between home, office, public space, etc... The PC Portable is a nice example of this limitless design vision.