Sostanza (Lead Holder) by Alessia Pagotto
2016 - 2017, Platinum A' Art Materials, Stationery Supplies and Gift Items Design Award Winner
The pencil is a nice object, it’s warm and reminds us of childhood, but has a short life span. You can sharpen it until it becomes no longer usable. The mechanical pencil, on the other hand, is reloadable, but consists of many pieces that get easily lost or broken. As designers we used to draw with mechanical pencils and noticed that they often get broken and the plastic body is cold at touch and slips away. So we came up with this solution simplifying the shape and using warm natural materials.
Sostanza is a wooden lead holder. Its functioning is very simple, it works with only two pieces. The light wooden body houses the graphite and the external ring slides towards the top to lock it. The 2mm lead is an easily found product: you pick the firmness you prefer and sharpen it by using the sharpener or rubbing it on sandpaper. Sostanza is useful and ergonomic too. Sometimes a simple object can be beautiful and work well with very little.
Design Challenges
The challenge is to redesign the functioning of a lead holder reducing the number of pieces to a minimum. The idea of a simple ring to lock the lead in place sounded so simple and logic, but it wasn't easy to make it work properly. The hardest part was making the 15cm hole for the lead. It's almost impossible to carve it from a unique piece of wood and it has to be extremely precise to allow the functioning. It must be large enough to let the graphite slide through it, but thin enough to let the ring pressure lock the lead in place. It's a matter of tenths of a millimeter!
Production Technology
Sostanza is entirely made in Italy. The main body is made in a specific centre for woodturning and the silver ring is produced in a goldsmith laboratory specialized in jewels high quality casting. Sostanza is available in five essences in their natural colors (Mahogany, Eastern black walnut, Pear tree, Ebony and Amaranth) and each wood is paired with a different finishing of the ring, giving it a precise aesthetic character.
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