These fabulous lamps, made from reused polyethylene teraphthalate (PET) plastic bottles, from Studio Alvaro Catalan de Ocon are on my wishlist. I came across this clever contemporary design project, which combines the reuse of PET bottles with the traditional weaving skills of Columbia’s displaced artisans to create these amazing light installations, in a roundup of Milan’s furniture fair in World of Interiors. I love the way that these lamps not only help tackle the problem of plastic bottles contaminating the Colombian Amazon but also utilise the traditional handicraft skills of displaced local weavers and provide them with an income.
Lamp Design And Production
Alvaro Catalan de Ocon, the Spanish product designer behind the project says,”We took advantage of the bottle top to join the electrical components to the lamp shade, the neck as the structure and the body of the bottle as a surface on which to weave. The principle of weaving is reinterpreted and the surface of the bottle is converted into the warp through which the artisan weaves the weft.
Weaving the plastic bottles into lampshades
In the same way that the tracking number printed on the bottles neck tells us of its production, where it was bottled and its destined market, the weaving created by the artisan tells us of their tradition by way of its fibres, colours and motifs.”
Alvaro and his team worked with two groups of artisans from the Cauca region of Columbia who had recently been displaced by guerrilla war and were living in difficult circumstances in Bogota. Both groups are known for their weaving skills, the Eperara-Siapidara use the fibres from the Paja Tetera palm tree for traditional crafts which they then die with natural pigments and the Guambianos from the central mountain range of the Andes weave wool and cotton using symbols and motifs which date back to the Incas.
The Final Product
Domingo Ullurie and Maria Stella Cuchillo with their finished lamps.
As you can see the lamps take on the patterns and colours of the traditional clothing and each piece is unique.
The designer, Alvaro Catalan de Ocon, with a selection of lamps in a range of styles, colours and patterns
If you are in London and want to see the lights, there is an installation on the ground floor of the Conran Shop in Marylebone High Street. The lamps can be purchased individually or in sets of 3, 6, 12 and 21 and you can choose the individual lamps. I have my eye on a set as I like the visual mix of colours, styles and patterns and think they would create a real focal point in a room. The PET lamps website is www.petlamp.org.
Photographs and background information for this blog have been taken from PET lamps press information.