Lighting in the 21st-century can be made from all kinds of repurposed ephemera – and not just glass mason jars. From spectacles to drinking vessels, these works by designer-makers show that resources we have in abundance can be transformed into unique upcycled lighting that makes a statement.
Lucirmás is one of the first European brands to specialise in the upcycling of glass bottles, founded in 2006 by the Italian designer and craftswoman Lucia Bruni. Her creative atelier is based in Barcelona, and aims to create contemporary objects for the home that reflect the charm, value and versatility of recycled glass. LaFlor pendant lamp (pictured above) combines a reused glass wine bottle and copper screen, all of which can be completely recycled.
Glass is sandblasted to remove any sharp edges resulting in simple, elegant products for the home. The Dama light pictured above is made from glass bottle and beech wood. Available to purchase via the Lucrimas website.
An example of upcycled lighting that makes you want to get a closer look. Optical chandelier by British artist Stuart Haygarth is created from over 4500 prescription spectacle lenses. The lenses are hung from a platform on a monofilament line to form a spherical shape. The light is refracted through the many layers of glass lenses, creating a magical dappled display.
Repurposed aircraft parts
Plane Industries specialise in crafting unique clocks, lighting, tables, drinks cabinets and wall art from upcycled aeroplane parts from both military and civilian aircraft.
Not just a tribute to aviation heritage, inspiration for their designs ranges from the Art Deco period of the 1900s, to Parisian industrial design of the 1940s as well as 21st-century styling. Individual aeroplane parts are married with sustainable metals, woods and textiles that result in elegant, modern and functional pieces. Pictured above is the Exhaust Lamp made from a BAE 146 and takes inspiration from the A.E. Cremer Parisian lights of the 1950s.
Repurposed vintage glassware lamps
Hervé Matejewski is the talent behind French design company Mat & Jewski, who first exhibited at the Salon Maison & Objet in 1999. These contemporary lights form one his collections ‘Verre, La Couleur’, beautiful pendant and freestanding lamps made from stacked vintage coloured glass objects.
Repurposed book lights
Michael Bom is a Dutch artist who makes sculptures and upcycled lights from books and comics. The page leaves are folded in a way that gives the lamps an appealing translucency and a wonderful feathered and organic appearance. His design studio Bom Design with Antoinet Deurloo specialises in products handmade from reused materials which can be bought at their online shop. Pictured above is the Globe book lamps made from a Readers Digest atlas.
Crystal decanter pendants
‘Decanterlights’ designed by Lee Broom were first installed at a West London wine bar, winning him an Elle Decoration award for best interior. The design comprised one tulip, two square and two bell vintage decanters, sourced from antique markets and vintage shops.
The design became very popular, so instead of depleting the world’s limited supply of vintage crystal decanters, Lee decided to produce a new version which is now made in the UK from handcrafted and hand cut lead crystal, available to purchase from Holloways of Ludlow.
Discarded x-ray lamp shade
This lampshade made from x-ray film was a school assignment by Swedish graphic designer Sture Pallarp in collaboration with Elin Hedlund and Emmelie Karlström. Taking x-ray sheets that would otherwise be thrown away, the design plays with the concept of viewing anatomical data on the doctor’s light box.
Sculptural glass lighting
deForm is a Prague-based design studio set up by Václav Mlynář and Jakub Pollág. In 2012 they created ‘Transmission’, an experimental light sculpture produced for the Czech glass company Kavalier. The light represented a twist on the five rings of the Olympic games logo.
The unique forms of the lights are produced using prefabricated Simax glass flasks originally used in chemical apparatus, joined by a specialist welding technique.
Upcycled beer bottle lighting
Upcycled lighting that charms and delights – Bangalore-based designer Nishi Chauhan is the creator of ‘Dunk’ which won a Red Dot Design award in 2014. Dunk combines reused beer bottle with lacquered wood painted with natural dyes. It’s described as a warm and friendly fantasy creature that can provide mood lighting to a number of interior settings. Available to order from Nishi directly.
Lamps made from plastic litter
Brunno Jahara is the designer behind these vividly coloured lamps and vessels which he produced in 2012. They are made from discarded cleaning product containers and drinks bottle caps collected by the National Recycling Group in São Paulo, Brazil. His aim was to draw attention to the amount of plastic debris that ends up in the ocean, contaminating the wildlife.
Jahara says, “We hope that humankind will find a real solution in the next generation to extinguish polluting elements from our industries, and that plastics, as we know today, will be reduced to a rare collector’s item.”
Re-blown glass bottles
The São Paulo Collection by Studio Swine is a range of lighting and furniture inspired by the Brazilian tropical modernism of the 1950s. A standing version was made using pine off cuts and the ‘bottle bulbs’ are made from glass beverage bottles that have been heated and re-blown into an eclectic collection of organic forms.
Rather than breaking the glass down for recycling, re-blowing the glass results in a clearer higher quality glass. It also requires less energy and retains the mark of its previous industrially manufactured form. Bulbs are fitted with customised brass fittings and LEDs.
Drinking glass chandeliers
‘Dram’ is a vintage glass chandelier is by Canadian design company Propellor. The light sculpture is made of 120 salvaged tumblers and drinking glasses, which they describe as “a hallucination of blurred contours, dissolving colours and the ghosts of a thousand intoxicated nights.” Glass vessels are found in second hand shops, garage sales and from friends and family who have forgotten glassware in the back of their cupboards, making each Dram entirely unique.
Upcycled bicycle chain chandeliers
The Connect series of chandeliers is made of recycled bicycle chains by LA-based Carolina Fontoura Alzaga. The multidisciplinary artist often explores socio-political themes in her work and says, “The traditional chandelier is seen as a bourgeois commodity, a cachet of affluence, excess and power. The recycled bicycle parts become a representation of the dismissed, invisible and powerless, but are also an affirmation of self-propelled movement.”
Crystal bowl pendant lights
Rafinesse & Tristesse founded their company in 2006. Their products are made from as many recycled items as possible, and include storage benches, children’s miniature kitchens, bar stools and other home accessories. The products are made in both Germany and Switzerland, in cooperation with social projects.
Fritz (see also first image), is a range of upcycled lighting made from old crystal bowls and vases, combined with precious brass bulb holders and fabric cable. Handmade in Berlin, every light is unique. The lamps were selected by a 1950s designed hotel in Hamburg, for use over each bedside table in their rooms. Available to order via Rafinesse & Tristesse.*
Repurposed pen chandelier
Proving humble objects can offer more than first meets the eye, these lights and chandeliers are all made from Bic biro pens. The Spanish designer Lucas Munoz took his inspiration from the 1920s Charleston fringe and combined it with an iconic 20th-century object – the ball point pen. The clear pens refract the light just like a crystal chandelier, resulting in a theatrical interior feature. You can buy the Volivik 347 (comprised of 347 biros) from EnPieza.
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