Thursday, 10 March 2011

New sustainable lamp made from shipping yard waste hits the market

REthinkthings as a design led contributor to the material world aims where possible to be environmentally aware as part of their vision to offer forward thinking solutions to the home ware and giftware market. A perfect example of how we go about achieving this vision can be found in our recent commercial realisation of the much celebrated Sworth lamp constructed mostly from worthless by products of the shipping industry.

Back in 2009, Ilsa Parry, REthinkthings creative director, submitted the original concept prototype to the Chamber of Commerce for their ‘Environmental Art Award’ in partnership with Liverpool City Council and Liverpool vision. Her idea was instantly recognised as a pioneering way of making worthless material attractive and useful and Sworth went on to win the award, giving further fuel to see the product develop into a viable commodity.

It has taken two years but last week REthinkthings launched their Sworth lamp on to the home ware and giftware market. The lighting store, The Glow Company has taken a quantity stock order, as well as the Sworth having a place in Linda Barker’s Ideal Home Show, Earls Court, London 2011. Where it can be seen on display.

The product itself is made from scrap aluminium, generated by shipping yards when turning aluminium on an engineering lathe for components needed in building the ships themselves (otherwise known as swarf). Ilsa spotted the potential for this undervalued material back in 2004 when delivering prototyping workshops with schoolchildren. Ilsa says:

“The Swarf material held an instant attraction for me due to its chaotic appearance. It invites you to handle it but can be dangerous, I really wanted to put this to use in a solution that would be attractive, interesting, sustainable and safe.”

Ilsa has been working with producers to make use of the leftover material scraps to manufacture a consistent and physically softer outcome. The solution reuses the aluminium, rather than recycling, a process which consumes further energy in order to melt the scrap metal down ready for making into other things. In collaboration with Tom Sutton, Ilsa has developed 3 products for the lighting range exclusively for REthinkthings. A hanging pendant, a small freestanding lamp (850cm high) and a tall freestanding lamp (1700cm high). Currently available directly through the “Glow company” or REthinkthings Direct. Future developments of the collection include anodized coloured versions, for greater variation.