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 !.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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…..

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The lamp’s glow is a completely dark space.

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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.

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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.

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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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