Frank Kolkman

Product Design (BA)


Hacking: Lightness (2011)

Hacking:Lightness is a collection of experiments and ‘lighting products’ investigating new lighting technologies as a material for design. 

After the European Union decided to phase-out the use of incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 for environmental reasons, this opened the door for led technology to make the transition from mainly industrial applications to domestic use. However the early results of this transition - that in 2011, could be found all over the shops - left much to be desired. Besides complaints about the light being to ‘cold’ or ‘flickering’, most led’s were designed to closely resemble the familiar pear shaped incandescent lightbulb rather than a more appropriate form. As it happens during most technological transitions: the new technology was presented in a known enclosure. Here was an opportunity for design. 

By researching, hacking and experimenting with led and other lighting technologies the project played with the expectations and codes of what a lighting product could and should be. Resulting in: highly efficient lamps with integrated light sources, gestural and physical interfaces, magnetic connectors, flexible cooling elements, colour temperature mixing, and more.



    2015 MA Design Interactions, Royal College of Art, London (UK)

    2011 BA Product Design, ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, Arnhem (NL)

Frank Kolkman is a dutch-born critical designer, artist and researcher interested in unpicking the social, economical and ethical implications of current and near-future technologies. His work spans across experimental devices, critical prototypes, interactive installations and scenario’s that address contemporary issues of technological access and ownership. 

After completing a bachelors degree in Product Design at ArtEZ institute of the Arts Arnhem in 2011 Frank went on to acquire a masters degree with distinction from the Design Interactions department at the Royal College of Art in 2015. Since then he has worked as a design associate at the Kyoto Institute of Technology Design lab in Japan, alongside exhibiting, talking and teaching internationally. 

Recently he was rewarded with an Award of Distinction in the Interactive Art+ category at Ars Electronica for his project ‘OpenSurgery’(2015) that has also been nominated for the Beazley Designs of the Year 2016 organized by the Design Museum London. Another project ’Designs for Flies’(2016) is currently shortlisted for a Dutch Design Award in the Social Design category.