Intro: Concrete & Copper Lamp
Since modernity, design has become a substantial contributor to some of the major issues we’re faced with today. Particularly environmental decay and social iniquity. We need a new way of thinking about what makes for good design.
Beyond mere pragmatism good design should also be gentle to the Earth and serve as a soft reminder of what really matters in our time in this world. This means a shift away from design that promotes mindless consumerism and the unforgiving extraction of natural resources.
I propose a way of designing that considers all of this, and still manages to be beautiful. This project will be my first exploration of this way of designing. The Razmi 1 is a desk lamp that will be made of three primary components: a concrete base, a copper stem, and a steel bowl shade. The idea here is that the main components of the product are all things which are either usually discarded or easily accessible. This puts good design back where it belongs: in the hands of the people.
Things you'll need:
- 1m 15mm dia. copper tube
- 1x lamp bayonette
- 3m 2-core cable
- 1x switch
- 1x 3-pronged plug
- 1x 45 deg. copper elbow
- 2x 90 deg. copper elbow
- 1x LED bulb
- 1kg cement
- 1kg building sand
- A3 sheet of corrugated cardboard
- A3 board of hardboard
- Discarded steel bowl (for the shade)
Step 1: Cut the Copper Pipes to Length
Here are the lengths:
- 1x 65mm
- 3x 210mm
Step 2: Making the Concrete Cast
- Cut and glue the cardboard to the hardboard base to create the formwork for the concrete, as shown in the image. I made it about 15mm high, 250mm long, and 170mm wide.
- Line the inside of the formwork with something waterproof — I just used some clingwrap from the kitchen.
Step 3: Drilling Into the Pipe
Drill 2 holes near the bottom of the pipe which will be cast into the concrete base.
One of the holes will be submerged in the concrete so that the stem of the lamp stays in the base. The second hole is for the electrical cable.
Feed the cable into the topmost of the holes you just drilled. I had to use some petroleum jelly.
Step 4: Pouring the Concrete
- Prop the concrete stem (with the holes drilled) somewhere in the concrete formwork you’ve made.
- Mix the concrete with a ratio of around 2:1 (cement:sand) — if you get stuck, this concrete class is super helpful: https://www.instructables.com/class/Concrete-Clas...
- Pour the mixed concrete into the mould.
- Make sure all of the nooks and crannies are filled by tapping the sides of the formwork.
- Wait at least 48 hours for the concrete to set.
Step 5: Attaching the Bulb Holder
- Attach the copper pipes with the elbows.
- You should have a kind of angular “?” shape.
- Dismantle the bulb holder.
- There should be a part like the one in the image.
- Solder that to the copper pipe, as shown in the image.
- Be careful not to burn yourself!
- Drill a hole in what you’re using as the lampshade (I used an old steel bowl).
- Run the cable up through the stem, and attach it to the bulb holder.
- Reassemble the bulb holder, with the shade now attached.
Step 6: Finishing
- Screw in the bulb.
- Attach the inline switch at a convenient distance from where the cable leaves the stem.
- Attach the plug to the end of the cord.
- Plug it in, and enjoy the glow of your new lamp!