AfterAll – Joanna Bean Martin & Ike Martin
Glo Lamp is a pendant lamp made from electroluminescent wire, mahagony and brass.
Joanna Bean Martin, Designer Ike Martin, Designer/Fabricator
This is a fun mix of classic style and new technology. We loved the use of EL wire in classic string art – a great juxtaposition. As a huge fan of all that is Googie, we love to see a new twist on an old idea.
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
Our challenge was to design/build a “lamp” with Electroluminescent Wire (Glo Wire).
We discovered E.L. Wire as a medium for installations and were inspired to work with it. We played around with various "glo-wire-as-light-source” scenarios. After seeing an original acrylic/filament pendant lamp hanging at a friend's house we thought it would be interesting to mimic what the mono-filament was doing, but with glo wire.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
Our point of view is to create pieces that are aesthetically interesting without re-inventing the wheel. We draw a lot of inspiration from clean modern design, but like to mix materials that might be unexpected.
Our foundation medium is wood, partly because we drawn to wood-craft, partly because its easily accessible for us and partly because of its warmth.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
This project started as a labor of love and the “audience” wasn’t really a part of the discussion until we saw the end result. Now we see its potential for production and think it could be a piece that has longevity in both residential and commercial interiors.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
We didn’t use a computer to model the design. We made a prototype out of foam core and twine to determine the size/shape of the spines, number of notches, and glo wire yardage.
For both aesthetic and structural reasons we designed the spines to be thicker on the inner edge than the outer. They come to a 72° point on the interior edge so all five spines meet. Our original plan was to have the spines adhere to one another but once the spines were shaped and sanded we realized this wasn’t going to work. We introduced the third material, brass, as disks that sit flush on the top and bottom and screw into all five spines.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
As it is, a one off piece, I don’t think it’s fair to place much social value on this lamp. E.L. Wire consumes lower energy than LEDs, neon and rope lamp, but that isn’t why we chose it. We chose it because we thought it was cool. We chose mahogany because we had some laying around and we chose the brass because we love golden things. All that said, if this were to be produced in a larger run, there is an opportunity to revisit the materials and make socially conscious choices.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?
We don’t feel we would change anything but we would like to expand on the size and shape to create a family of pieces.