Over the past two weeks, I have come across some striking lighting that makes use of recycled and/or renewable materials. Whether you’re working with a modest budget – under $100 – or are looking for a high-end, knock-their-socks-off custom installation, this post should offer something of interest.
Everything here is original, and because I value learning about the person behind any original, I have included a bit about the artisans who made each of these handsome pieces.
Light Art’s Elements Lamps
Ahna Holder and Ryan Grey Smith invented the first of their Elements pendant lights in their kitchen, melting a resin material in their oven and then shaping it into a lighting unit on top of their dining room table. The two were already successful in the architectural and design business, but little did they suspect then that their project, created for the home of a Seattle friend, would grow into a successful business of its own.
Their business, which recently joined the 3-Form company, is known as Light Art. I recently had the pleasure of meeting one of Light Art’s two founders, Ahna Holder. I spent a day with Ahna and 3-Form’s Northern California rep, Meg Bruce, and as they toured San Francisco interior designers’ and architects’ offices to introduce Elements lamps to the trade.
As a consumer, the name 3Form may leave you scratching your head. If you’re not in an interior design or an architectural business, it’s likely that you have never heard of it. However 3Form is hot stuff among designers. And although you don’t know it, you’ve been encountering 3Form materials – glass and resins of many different types – all over the place. They are in IBM’s headquarters, at Cisco Systems, at the Vancouver International Airport, at the San Francisco Shopping Center, in the Smithsonian and in the Santa Barbara Surf Museum, to name just a few spots. The 3Form company was founded in 1991 by interior design and architectural types who had decidedly green leanings.
Varia Eco Resin, the material used in the Elements light coverings, is made from a minimum of 40% post-industrial recycled resin. Designers use Varia to create for everything from room dividers to tabletops and furniture, and although Varia comes in a staggering array of colors, textures and transparencies, a pure white version with a sueded finish is used to create the Elements lamps. Light Arts medium-sized pendants (shown at the top of this post) are single bulb fixtures that range from 30″-40″ in length and priced around $650. Small pendants, priced around $550, are single bulb fixtures that range from 14″-30″ in length. The best way to get one of these affordably-priced originals is to work with your interior designer; Light Art sells to the trade.
While most of my readers are not likely to be commissioning a large, custom-designed piece of art costing tens of thousands of dollars, it’s still impressive to know that Light Art is quickly growing a reputation for making 18-foot high chandeliers like the one shown above to the left!
If you’re in San Francisco, you can see one of these chandeliers in Saks Fifth Avenue near the perfume counters by Post and Powell Streets. Creating and installing such a large chandelier calls for considerable expertise, and Ryan Grey Smith, who at one time supervised museum installations for master glass artist Dale Chihuly, has it.
Paper Cut Lamps
Artist Hanna Nun, who lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England, creates beautiful and modestly-priced lights from cut parchment.
Though a city girl by birth, Hannah found great inspiration in the countryside when she studied crafts at Carmarthen college in West Wales. There she stayed for many years, raising her two small children, sketching and drawing in the fields and woodland and gathering her ideas.
Today Hannah is part of Northlight Studio, a cooperative guild of 26 resident artists which has received support from the Yorkshire Art Council. Hannah Nunn’s small lamps are priced at $83 and large table lamps are priced at $98; they are available to US customers through Hannah’s shop on the Etsy website.
In Vino e Veritas:
Wine Bottles Illuminated
Artist Jerry Kott creates colored, sculptural lights from recycled wine bottles. Kott’s Krysallis lights are available online from re:Modern, which calls them the “Color Block” lamp. Price varies according to number of color blocks per lamp: 3 color blocks for $190, 4 color blocks for $260 and 5 color blocks for $310.
Interestingly, “RE” is actually the name of a series of glass art works that Kott has created over a span of years. Kott says that the “RE” series is about rebuilding, redefining, reliving, reinventing and recycling. To make Krysallis lamps, Kott says, “I take empty wine bottles, cut them apart, polish the edges, frost the glass (inside and out) and reassemble them into hybrid bottles of various shapes, sizes, colors and uses.”
Kott gave the lamp its name because the filament of the 40-watt frosted tubular incandescent bulb inside “will flutter, much like the fluttering of a butterfly about to leave the chrysalis.”
Most of the Krysallis lamps are green to gold in color, as shown at left, but Kott has also created some striking lamps from blue and frosted white bottles. Kott has designed one series of Krysallis lamps that hang as pendants. Another series is designed to stand on a table, supported by a silver metal base.
Paper Clip Chandelier
If you have time on your hands, you might actually want to create a chandelier using a couple thousand paperclips.
I have seen several different paperclip chandelier designs, ranging from the sleek, sophisticated curvilinear version by New York designer Gary Ponzo (shown at right) to simple versions in which the strands of clips hang in tiers from a hoop. The Gary Ponzo chandelier is being manufactured by Alan Tanksley and can be purchased through him.
Alternatively, by investing about $60 for 4000 paperclips, plus around $5 for a wreath-making frame, you could make your own paperclip chandelier. The process is simple, if a bit time-consuming; it might be a way to occupy your hands while watching TV. If you’re interested, there’s even an internet video on making a paperclip chandelier available to show you how!
This Amazing Day
(excerpt – full poem here)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)