Tom Chung’s adventurous Piton lamp draws inspiration from a desire for wilderness

Created by designer Tom Chung for Muuto, the adventurous Piton lamp surprises with its creative versatility. Design Stories got to chat with Chung, who revealed the story behind Piton and his own guideline for decorating.

An image of designer Tom Chung sitting beside their work desk.
Tom Chung is a Canadian designer, currently living in Rotterdam. Photo: Anh Dao

Hello Tom, how have you been?
“Hi there! I’m doing well thanks. I just got back from a few weeks of traveling for the first time in many years. It was great to meet up with old friends and new colleagues! I’m also in the middle of setting up my new studio space in Rotterdam, so it has been a busy summer so far.”

One of your new designs is the stunning Piton Portable lamp. Can you please share with us the story behind Piton?
“The starting point of this project was reflecting on how we are living in cities and our desire for a sense of wilderness within these spaces. There is also a counterpoint to this; the trend of city dwellers leaving for more rural areas. This contrast spawned the idea to design something that could bridge these two situations.”

An image of Muuto's Piton lamp as part of the kitchen decor.
Muuto's portable Piton lamp can be used in various ways. Depending on how it is placed, Piton can provide dynamic lighting for working and studying, or create ambiance.
An image of Muuto's Piton table lamp as part of the home office decor.
The light and airy look of the portable lamp fits a range of styles.
An image of designer Tom Chung sitting beside their work desk.
“The starting point for Piton was reflecting on how we are living in cities and our desire for a sense of wilderness within these spaces. There is also a counterpoint to this; the trend of city dwellers leaving for more rural areas,” Chung elaborates. Photo: Anh Dao
Muuto's Piton portable lamp in the garden.
Fun and adventurous, Piton gets its name from the French word meaning spike or wedge – the lamp borrows its design language from old-fashioned flashlights and mountain climbing equipment.

Piton is quite a versatile piece! Do you have one in your home and how do you use it?
“I recently got the first production pieces at home and now have several all around the house. It works great as a bedside lamp, extra light in the kitchen, and pretty much anywhere you can think of. It provides directional and ambient light depending on how you position it and provides a cozy atmosphere wherever you are.

When friends stay over, they sleep in our home office upstairs, so it’s nice to offer them a Piton to use as a torch to go up and down the staircase at night. I’m also looking forward to using it this summer while spending late evenings outside.

“Piton provides directional and ambient light depending on how you position it and provides a cozy atmosphere wherever you are.”

An image of a black Piton lamp as part of the home office decor.
You can set the Piton lamp to illuminate up, down, sideways, or downwards at an angle.
A product image of a grey Piton lamp.
The portable Piton lamp can be used for over 13 hours on the lowest setting and up to six hours on the highest.
An image of Muuto's Piton luminaire strapped on a bike.
The beautiful and practical luminaire is made from plastic and aluminum, so it is tough and light enough to be carried like a flashlight.
An image of a black Piton lamp hung on a tree branch.
You can also suspend the Piton lamp to dangle from the ceiling like a pendant or hang it up on a rack or tree branch.

We are very much inspired by your creative, dynamic pieces but where do you find inspiration for your work?
“I find a lot of inspiration from looking at how real spaces work and from functional references such as sports equipment, hardware, and public infrastructure – and then figure out a way to make them appropriate for a more domestic context. I am also very much influenced by contemporary culture, as well as my talented friends who work in creative fields within art, music, and fashion.”

Besides Piton, you have also designed the Beam Table Lamp for Muuto. Is designing luminaires especially close to your heart?
“I do enjoy the opportunity there is with lamps – both from a technical perspective and how they affect and define the vibe of a space. With that being said, I enjoy working on any project that has an earnest and worthwhile starting point.”

“I find a lot of inspiration from functional references such as sports equipment, hardware, and public infrastructure – and then figure out a way to make them appropriate for a more domestic context.”

What are your passions besides your work?
“I spend a lot of time in museums, cycling, cooking, swimming, and with friends and family. Music is also very important to me.”

A product image of Muuto's Beam Lamp in color umbra.
Muuto's Beam Lamp is also designed by Tom Chung.
An image of designer Tom Chung sitting on a sofa.
Tom Chung decorates intuitively. “I don’t believe in any rules, just go with the things that resonate with you.” Photo: Anh Dao

Can you tell us a little bit about your home? How do you go about decorating it?
“I am currently living in Rotterdam West with my partner, in an old post-war rental building. When we moved in, it had been a rental and was in quite a poor condition, but we’ve slowly fixed it up bit by bit. We have mostly decorated with vintage finds and thrifted items, with a few of my prototypes lying around.

I believe that to create an inviting space, all you need is good natural light, some plants, and a nice floor. I don’t believe in any rules, just go with the things that resonate with you.”

What are you working on next?
“I am organizing a new exhibition with friends for the Dutch Design Week this October in Eindhoven. Our multidisciplinary exhibition involves design, books, film, and music and I’m very excited about it.”

4 x Tom Chung's favorites

  • Movie: Anything Wong Kar-Wai.
  • Color: Blue
  • Summer song: Sharon Forrester – Fire
  • City: Paris, Toronto or Taipei 

Favorites from Muuto 

Linear Wood table
Linear Steel armchair
Ply rug
Enfold sideboard
Grain pendant
Outline sofa
Halves side table
Dots Wood coat hooks
Kink vase
Reflect sideboard
Framed mirror
Beam Lamp

See also:

All products by Tom Chung >
All products by Muuto >

Text: Mira Ahola Images: Tom Chung and Anh Dao

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