The Story of the Canister Lamp

27 May 2015 Posted by Alexander

The Canister Lamp is a striking contemporary sculptural light that excels at re-interpreting the use of shagreen and in combining this lustrous natural material with dark bronze. Hemispheres, east and west, polarity, duality… Initial ideas of splitting furniture and lamps in two halves were played with through full pads of notes, sketches and later wax models.

The Canister Lamp that emerged from this visual thinking was more or less a tablet; rounded at the corners, lifted slightly by a bronze base. It conveys the swelling, voluminous sculptures of Barbara Hepworth whose studio I love to visit in St Ives. I wanted to get away from that square feeling of much shagreen work and bring a softness to the lamp. The tablet form is carved in wood that is then split down the middle. A dark bronze line keeps the two sides floating, almost touching the void that brings attention to the lamp’s complexity of both structure and material. The centre beads of the eight extra large shagreen skins are expertly placed along the lamp’s spines to create a feeling of tailored, hand-stitched detailing. For me, this is a uniquely elegant lamp that emits a warm engineered yet sculpted presence. 

Precise hand-tailored edges wrap the curved corners. 
The Canister Lamp; a floating flattened ‘globe’ of hemispheres and quadrants.

The Demi-monde Floor Lamp is a big sister to the Canister Table Lamp and is a new addition to our lighting collection. The construction method is the same with the canister shape replaced by a gently tapering trunk deeply cleaved along a bronze core. Solid wood is turned to a tapering precision before being sliced and the skins applied. The combination of bronze with sheets of cool shagreen skins creates a subtle interplay of two of the greatest decorative surfaces; black and white, pure natural ocean ivory and patinated cast metal.

The Demi-monde Floor Lamp recalls a statuesque world of haute couture in a timeless yet highly contemporary work. 
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