The shades for the Z1 Black Bamboo PC pendant are created by a group of young handcrafters in a small village about three hours from Manila. The natural handmade paper affixed to the bamboo frames is made of the bark of a special Mulberry tree. Native to Asia, the Paper Mulberry has long been a significant fiber crop in the history of papermaking, used for producing paper since around 100 AD.
The bark is stripped off of branches and dried, then cleaned with spatulas to remove the hard, dark portions. The material that remains is cooked for three hours with ash and acoustic soda, then rinsed and put into a pulping machine. After the mixture becomes a pulp, it goes through a special process that turns it into a fabric-like material that is shaped into a shade.
Ay Lin Heinen and Nelson Sepulveda, the design team from Ay Illuminate, steered the artisans toward identifying the perfect form and optimal textural translucence for the shades, but the artistry of their handwork extends back through generations. Recognizing that papermaking has been one of the countries great traditions, Ay Illuminate knew its craftspeople could easily turn their artisanal talents to producing soulful lighting—proof is how luminosity radiates from the Z1 Black Bamboo PC.