DMTV Milkshake: Ian Yang on Making Gorgeous Lighting at a Reasonable Price

03.08.23 | By
DMTV Milkshake: Ian Yang on Making Gorgeous Lighting at a Reasonable Price

A truly beautiful piece of lighting can transform a room – and often costs more than we might think at first (well-lit) glance. Ian Yang, CEO and founder of Gantri, understands that push (toward great lighting) and pull (away from $1800 lamps). But Yang has long investigated the space between impulses: His education took him to the London School of Economics, but also revered art school Central Saint Martins. As a kid in China, he toured factories with his parents, who has a global logistics firm – and when he moved to San Francisco, he joined TechShop, a maker space fueled by a community fluent in the next-wave manufacturing processes like 3D printing. The result of all those influences is Gantri: “At Gantri, we’re rethinking how lighting is designed, made, and sold using 3D printing,” he says, in this week’s Milkshake. “We’re supporting independent designers and studios – and making great lighting designs more accessible and more sustainable.”

Gantri partners with designers around the world – like Oakland’s Prowl Studio, Felix Pöttinger in Munich, Heitor Lobo Campos in Brasilia, and former Milkshake star Bradley L. Bowers in New Orleans – to create their work at a reasonable cost. Here, Ian shows off the Kobble task light by none other than Karim Rashid: “It’s typical Karim – really blobby, really beautiful – and the entire product is actually made from two different types of plant-based materials that we call Gantri, plant polymers,” Ian says. “They’re both derived from sugarcane, which is a really amazing material.” Each part is 3D printed, then QC’d multiple times before it’s hand assembled. (We loved this collection – which includes task lights, wall lights, and floor lights – so much that we covered it when it debuted last year, saying that “while each piece of the lighting series can easily work alone, the group together has the ability to make a space feel extra balanced.”)

black table lamp on nightstand

modern table lamp on nightstand

Also in this Milkshake: Ian shares how digital-centric manufacturing processes alter a product’s look and feel – including layer lines and subtle textures – and tees up the brand’s latest Independent Creative Release, which included the Hula Collection by Pöttinger, the Gallery Collection by Andrew Ferrier, the Noah Collection by Filippo Mambretti, and more. “It’s a way for us to really support independent desires and studios who wouldn’t otherwise be able to launch products to market with a lot of visibility,” Ian says. “So we thought by creating this platform – where we launch a bunch of designs from a whole collection of designers – we can really maximize their voice and amplify the effect of the product launch. Last year, we launched more than 20 designs as part of this initiative, and this year we’ll continue to do that with even more designers.” To see more of what Gantri has in store, tune in!

clamp light on easel next to artist

table lamp at work desk

table lamp on sideboard

Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.

Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.