Pattern puzzle: lamp shades

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on May 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm / Contest and Projects / Trackback

My not so inner four year old has been waiting all week to post this. She thinks she deserves pats on the head for not having gone off the rails with it sooner. It is better than a regular pattern puzzle; it’s an ouroboros pattern (pt.2, pt.3) too. Giddy giddy giddy she is.

In response to last week’s entry (the aside on the lampshade I liked in LA), Miss Jess left a link to a DIY reconfigurable lantern project on Craftster. I don’t know that it was legal that the pattern for the project was posted in that forum and I normally don’t link to something unless I know it is so I don’t know how to reconcile my questionable ethics in the matter. ~sigh~ Am I becoming corrupted? Anyway, the company who makes these kits (of which the pattern was posted from Make Magazine) is called IQ Light. Here are some photos of the lamp shades.

Here is a simplistic illustration showing the concept of construction using just the one pattern interlocking pattern piece (a discussion of the lamp shade geometry is here).

Below are two photos of lamps made by people over at Craftster. I think these are very striking. There’s no reason you couldn’t make some yourself. I think they’d look good in oaktag. I’ve made smaller lights (rather like luminarias) out of that before and they came out very nice.

On a related site (related to the IQ light site that is) I found some more cool lamps. The one below is famous, not that I knew that. It’s called “Turbo” and was designed by Louis Weisdorf (there’s no wiki on him!) in 1965.

Here’s another photo of it. Apparently you can still buy these for a mere £499.00 (36″) or £852.00 (62″). Ouch.

It is described as:

TURBO is built by 12 identical white-sprayed spiral shaped [aluminum] segments whose exterior follow the face of a globe. The inner part of the TURBO light does not blind and the bulb is completely screened.

This lamp should be really easy -heh- since it’s made with only one pattern piece. Anyone care to sketch it out for us?

It is at this point that I don’t know if I should continue or not. I have been looking for an excuse to show lamp samples from two books I dearly love that have some DIY paper or plastic lamp patterns, interlocking or pleated similar to these. These books are called Nomadic Furniture and Nomadic Furniture 2. I have tons of books. If these books were irreplaceable (out of print but plenty of used ones on Amazon) and my office were burning down and I could only carry out twenty books, I’d take these. They are full of all kinds of patterns for DIY projects. Even if you never build anything from them, you’ll get lost looking through them for hours. Many many clever ideas.

16 Responses to “Pattern puzzle: lamp shades”

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Amy Mello
May 29th, 2008
4:37 PM

Wow those are beautiful and very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this!

May 29th, 2008
5:05 PM

Wow, amazingly cool!

Sue T.
May 29th, 2008
6:23 PM

Oh blast, now I have to figure out where I put my Nomadic Furniture books so I can get them out and go through them again. I had almost forgotten how great they are. I also liked Papanek’s book Design for the Real World, even if he is quite opinionated at times. But then aren’t we all?

May 29th, 2008
7:11 PM

You SHOULD carry on! Can’t wait for the Nomadic Furniture details!

May 29th, 2008
9:23 PM

We do tend to read the same books. Although I have lost so many of mine along the way, possibly including these.

However, when I went to Amazon just now to look at them, I found the book I tried to tell you about several months ago..Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek. I do highly recommend it.

May 30th, 2008
7:17 AM

Oh thank you thank you Kathleen. I’ve been searching hi and lo for information on these interlocking lamps for some time now to no avail. And now, you’ve put me on the trail. You are truly the greatest in all the land!

May 31st, 2008
10:46 AM

Thanks for sharing the links, Fantastic lamps,

May 31st, 2008
1:46 PM

Ooooh! Love the lamps. I got something like that from Ikea for my kitchen and had a great time putting it together, I was contemplating more, this looks like just the ticket for infinite variety ;-). When you”re bored, reconfigure.

I can’t tell you how worn my nomadic people books are. The project I was proudest of was done when I lived in 10m2 in Paris (90 sq ft?). I scavenged a refrigerator carton from the street, and made the odd triangular armchair. Loved it, it fit very neatly into a small corner and looked totally ‘design’. Held me up fine for a couple years without ever showing signs of wear. And as a bonus it totally humiliated my father that I was cutting up street cardboard for furniture :-).

August 24th, 2011
4:53 PM

I know I’m five years late, but–did this pattern puzzle have a solution? I went through the archives, but I just can’t find the Part 2. I’m very interested in the construction of the Turbo lamps, even though I doubt I could assemble one that looks as perfect as theirs. Thanks in advance for your time and trouble!

August 25th, 2011
7:57 AM

You’re on your own Scout, sorry! If you follow some of those links, you can find folding instructions for some paper lamps.

August 25th, 2011
4:13 PM

Thank you for replying so quickly! Well, shoot, I guess I’d better buy some construction paper and start experimenting. I can’t tell if those Turbo lamps are made of straight strips which have been twisted till they curl, or curved strips which have just been bent outward. They sure look cool!

September 7th, 2011
8:18 AM

Nice post! If you ever find out how to make the Stig Hansen / Louis Weisdorff Turbo lamp, please post it on your site. I’m sure a lot of people would love to have one of those hanging above their kitchen table!

April 6th, 2013
3:15 AM

BAD DESIGN, shame its lovely when its up, great fun putting it all together………. There is nothing to hold it up. there is no where for the bulb to go in to. its a solid shape. I tried sliding the bulb & ceiling light cable in to it and as there was no metal to support it like a normal light shade it MELTED. absoluteld gutted because I loved it. If it was designed a bitty better I would buy loads!!!

PS: it is fun to build, takes a while but well worth it. Prefferably have a biig room to put all the pieces on the floor like a jigsaw if you are doing the biggest one like I had.

September 11th, 2013
12:31 AM

Hi, I think I’ve figured out the pattern for the turbo lamp. It’s not a straight strip. It’s like the ribbon of coca-cola.

February 18th, 2014
2:03 PM

@Chas, you just have to make a knot with the electric cable. Not too tight. Then the lamp will get stuck in it and the heat will not reach the lamp shade. I’ve donde that with a lamp shade made out of thick paper and the light bulb was an incandescent one. No burning so far…

Marc Warren
September 6th, 2014
9:57 AM

Hs anyone got a template for the turbo lamp?
Have had several attempts using cut out strips of paper but I agee with a previous comment and think that they need to be wider on the top and bottom
hopefully some mathematician wiz can come to the rescue!.

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