Atmosphere is a spatial quality that extends far beyond the physical attributes of a space. These qualities can be sensory, emotional, harmony, beauty, a feeling of presence and can set the mood and overall feel of a space. The experience of space and the emotions they evoke are greatly affected by light. Light surrounds us and is essential to us as human beings, whether it is artificial light coming from billboards and streetlights in bustling Times Square or the calming dappled light filtering through swaying trees in a meadow, light affects our experiences in subtle ways some might take for granted.
Dappled light is my most favorite lighting condition. It is very calming to me, probably because it evokes memories of spending time in the woods when I was a child, sitting under a tree on the grounds of the masonic temple behind my house, reading one of my favorite CS Lewis books. Recreating this lighting condition in my office was the goal of this project. Using Sketchup plugins (unfold tool by Jim, and subdivideandsmooth by Dale Martens) to create, triangulate and flatten the 3D organic form and Grasshopper in Rhino to create tabs to fold the form back together after lasercutting the flattened sheets, I fabricated the lamp from textured Strathmore and used sewing snaps as fasteners. I color-coded the sketchup model and used it as a reference to put all the pieces together like a 3D puzzle. The bulb is centered within the form and casts a shadow pattern in my office similar to the lighting condition in my childhood memory. The lighting condition is very similar to natural dappled light, and evokes a calming effect in my room.
I have attached both the lasercutter file and the sketchup model so you can build your own Lamp X! All you need is 6 sheets of 18"x24" strathmore paper (or any heavyweight paper or lasercutterable material that is thin yet strong enough to easily work with), a few hundred 1/8" fasteners (I originally planned to use paper eyelets, but the website I bought the eyelets from sent me the wrong eyelet fastener so I improvised with a few hundred sewing snaps that I thought gave the lamp an interesting aesthetic!), a lightbulb, light socket, power cord, bottle cap, and of course a lasercutter!
To put all the pieces together start with each colored "vortex" piece. Each sheet is labeled with either an R, G, B, or Y which corresponds with the colored parts of the sketchup model (Red, Green, Blue and Yellow). Start with the center piece of each "vortex" and work outward until you have 4 "vortex" pieces. Each tab has another tab that it matches up with that with that will be the exact same size. Each pair of tabs is attached together with one fastener. The fastners can be made permanent by "squishing" them together with a pliers. Once all the vortex pieces are put together, put the sheet of odd pieces together by following the arrows on the sheet and use the sketchup model as a reference (these pieces are the gray colored pieces in the sketchup model). After all the big pieces are assembled attach them to each other, its a little tricky, but if you use the sketchup model as a reference you should be ok! Remember to make a few of the fasteners removable so you can change the bulb eventually! It took me about 5 hours to put the whole thing together, and was more fun than I thought it would be, and if you like puzzles, you might find it fun as well!
The light bulb and cable assembly is just a simple light bulb, socket and cable that I hardwired into my ceiling. The cable passes through the one triangle piece that is different from all the others (its on the sheet with the gray pieces). This unique triangle piece has a small hole in the center to allow the cable to pass through and can be taken apart to make this process easier. In order to make the light bulb dangle at just the right height in the center of the lamp I threaded a bottle cap with a hole in the center through the cable and superglued it at just the right spot on the cable so the bulb is in the right place, but you could just tie a knot in the cable if you want.