One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

In a recent visit to Scrap Store Leeds I came across some lovely but slightly damaged scientific Buchner funnel’s. They where sat lonely on a shelf and I was immediately drawn to their unique form, material and the variety of scales so I couldn’t leave without them !.



Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 14.41.30

The funnels are normally used in labs for reasons described here.

I wanted to see how the funnels would look in various positions with a light source so I added a basic lamp to see if light would pass through the thick ceramic. I also wanted to observe the way the forms move so I placed them upside down, tilting and laid them on their side at which point they began to spin in perfect circles because of the clean lines in their form.


Light escaping from the tilting funnel is an interesting, fun concept that would require adding a block  (from ceramic or a contrasting material) to the rim at the back of the funnel


In a slightly lit space a small amount of glow is visible through the ceramic. Ideally I had wished my lamps would be stronger and so I knew from this point I would not be able to use these exact funnels to create my family of lamps.

Although it would have been great to re-use the funnels themselves to create a collection of luminaires, the lamps are still very much in great demand and there isn’t a constant waste stream that I could rely on as part of a manufacture process. I have spotted the funnels being used as ornaments alone and so it’s clear others feel they are as charming and interesting as I do. Despite this I am happy the funnels have found their way into my hands because they have inspired me to create my own version.


Oast House in Kent

The funnels link nicely into my theme of escapism in their surreal nature, you wouldn’t normally expect equipment used in a lab to become interactive lamps. They also look very architectural when placed together and echo the charm of Oast Houses like this one…..


The lamp’s glow is a completely dark space.


The base of the funnels

The spin of the funnel’s is a very charming, playful attribute. I think because of the nature of the materials and their strength it’s safe to spin them, if I where to replicate the form in a thinner ceramic to allow for more light to pass through, I highly doubt that spinning would be a safe option as they would likely crack. Despite  this I think the form of the funnels and their material has inspired me to adapt and create my own version in a material that would lend it’s self better to lighting and the element of interactivity I plan to incorporate. The scale of the lamps is also something that attracted me to them as they fit nicely into the palm of your hand and have a user friendly appeal, although I had imagined my collection of lamps to be larger, this is something that I now feel needs reconsideration.


The circular pool’s of light  that the funnels create could be effective if they were hung from the ceiling as a collection or attached to a lamp stand. Placed on their head and using the spout  as a handle, the funnels become hand held  torches that guide you on your way to the next space you want the lamp to be a part of. This multitude of possibilities  would be made possible by incorporating the technology I had planned to use within my Russian doll concept where one larger lamp would be mains powered and would charge to smaller lamps by a system of simple circuitry making them movable.

The funnels have inspired me to push forward the concept of a family of lamps but instead of sitting within each other the lamps sit alongside  each other. I plan to borrow the form of the funnels as a starting point to develop my own that will work better for the purpose of my project.

This entry was published on April 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm. It’s filed under Final Major Project and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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