Fluorescent lamps are synonymous with the most depressing aspects of modern life: their soulless flickering presides over vast aisles of big box stores, server farms, fields of cubicles, and parking garages. Yet, as individual objects, they are sleek, glossy white tubes, efficient in both form and purpose. I thought it nice to marry these contradictions into a lamp that used burned-out tubes to diffuse the light from a single, working fluorescent. The result is a study in opposites: lightness and weight, fragility and solidity, delicacy and mass. A concrete base supports a column of white glass, classical in form and color, but modern in material and concept.
After finishing, I discovered another artist's elegant take on the burnout concept here: http://www.castordesign.ca/
I also realized a number of shortcomings upon completion; namely, the tubes being buried permanently in concrete makes it difficult to replace a broken bulb or to move the lamp without threatening the tubes. The next iteration, perhaps, will have sockets which facilitate swapping out the tubes for transport or repair. In the process of making the lamp, one tube broke; I've included replacement instructions here.
Fluorescent tubes are filled with hazardous toxins, namely mercury. Work in a well-ventilated area, and wear a mask if you break a tube. Clean up the shards of glass with gloves.
Salvage the bulbs from your office, home, or school. Counties and towns with bulb-recycling programs might be inclined to spare a few if you ask nicely.
You will need these materials:
eight 1-1/2" dia.burned out fluorescent tubes
8" dia. sonotube or similar
approx. 2' square of 3/4" plywood
approx. 12" of 2" dia. PVC pipe
50 lbs. quick-set concrete mix
three-wire grounded power cord
approx 3" x 6" x 1/4" piece of plexiglass
You will need these tools:
1-1/2" drill bit
2-1/4" hole saw
Dremel tool or similar