Sustainable light could help a more eco-friendly world, says Bucks student


Date: 20th Jun 2019

A Buckinghamshire New University Art & Design student says a sustainable chandelier she designed for her degree shows how items can look attractive and also be good for the environment.Thistle Martin

Thistle Martin, who is completing a degree in BA (Hons) Product Design: Interior Product, displayed her work, called ‘Luminature’, at the University’s Art & Design Summer Show at its campus in Queen Alexandra Road, High Wycombe.

She developed the idea partly because of her interest in using natural materials and partly in response to widespread concerns around use of plastic and also worries she has about the amount of waste sent to landfill.

“My Luminature is designed to be as sustainable as possible and includes polished brass which can be reused once the chandelier is no longer required,” said Thistle.

“Its shade is handmade using recycled paper from my draft dissertation, which can be recycled or used as compost. If produced on a larger scale, I believe it could be an attractive, eco-friendly alternative to plastics and other materials used to make chandeliers.”

Thistle used three layers of handmade paper to make the Luminature and added: “It shows how imaginative thinking can produce something that is attractive and kinder to the environment. 

“The next challenge would be to produce more lights like this, but I’ve shown attractive lighting can be produced sustainably. Each light would be slightly different in response to commissions.

“The work reflects my interests in Biophilic design, light, colour, and shadow, and explores the contrasts of texture and translucency.

"The design was inspired by the experience of sunlight shining through leaves and uses the natural forms of beech leaves, as well as the texture of the paper, to filter light from LED strips.”

Thistle is a mature student who works at All Saints Parish Church in High Wycombe and previously taught for more than 20 years at Ash Hill Primary School, in High Wycombe.

Speaking about returning to study in higher education, Thistle added: “I had never thought about doing anything connected to art but I completed a Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art Design and Media and then progressed on to the degree.

“Doing the diploma was the best decision I have ever made and the degree has been equally good. The staff work extremely well together and for our final project we developed our own  brief and were encouraged to explore it in whichever ways we wished.

“I have enjoyed studying in a supportive, creative atmosphere, and am excited about the career direction these new skills may take me in.”


  • Our University
  • Our Students
  • Creative Arts & Design