My bottle lamp has been “completed”! Overall, I’m proud of the finished product, but I definitely have some ideas for improvements to make to it over the next few days/weeks. Let me get into the actual process to go from the bottle below, to the lamp you see above.
Initial Ideas, Research, and Inspiration
As far as design goes, I followed a fairly standard process like this one my team and I came up with in-class:
Design Loop (Credit: Roshan Misra, Created By: Chris Coffman, Joe Yoshimura, and Roshan Misra)
I had a need for a table lamp in my room, since my old lava lamp that I’d been using had officially fizzled out. This project served as a great excuse to build a lamp for myself! I had always thought that glass bottles were awesome pieces of art and I always find myself appreciating glass bottles like this:
Skull Tequila Bottle (Source: http://g02.a.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1JJlsJXXXXXcpXXXXq6xXFXXX3/1000ml-font-b-Cool-b-font-Novelty-Special-font-b-Glass-b-font-Skull-Beer-Water.jpg)
or even some of the simpler, but still elegant bottles like this one, which eventually turned into my lamp:
The Glenmorangie Scotch Bottle which serves as the base of the lamp (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
Doing some research on Google, I found that there were numerous glass bottle lamps and different methods of implementation. I ended up combining elements of many of these designs in my lamp. A few of these are pictured below.
A few of my bottle table lamp inspirations (Sources:http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/06/john-meng-wine-bottle-lamp-2.jpg,
At this point, I had to decide the kind of aesthetic that I wanted to fulfill with my lamp. I’ve always felt there’s a certain beauty about industrial architecture, which I wrote a little about in a previous blog post (http://wp.me/p74uWv-6g). This aesthetic often involved bringing industrial, often classically ugly, elements such as exposed piping, brick, concrete, wood, and metal in a very purposeful way to create an atmosphere. It invokes modern and vintage elements at the same time and I find it very comforting and cozy. I am a big believer in feng shui and the energy of a space and wanted to focus the energy of my room into something warm and welcoming. When executed properly, the raw industrial aesthetic, can create a glowing, cozy space, like in a few of the pictures below.
A few examples of the raw industrial aesthetic (Sources: http://retaildesignblog.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Sage-Restaurant-Drewes-Strenge-Architekten-Berlin.jpg,http://static.materialicious.com/images/attic-apartment-with-a-visually-pleasing-industrial-aesthetic-l.jpg,
Another aesthetic that I wanted to draw from was what I will call the “simply elegant” aesthetic. I found many bottle lamps which had too much going on in their decoration and in their look. Many were very colorful and too busy. I wanted something that could function like a centerpiece on a table, similar to a vase, but simple and not flamboyant.
Some examples of simply elegant centerpieces (Source: https://haveyounerd.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/img_1107.jpg,
These pictures above were some of the inspiration for my final design of the bottle.
Goals and Design Choices
My lamp has one functional goal, which is to provide light. However, I had to make multiple choices on how to provide that light, and those choices would influence the overall aesthetic of the finished product.
In terms of the aesthetics of my lamp, I wanted to embrace that industrial aesthetic as much as possible, and felt that “Edison” style light bulbs were the best choice as far as the bulb was concerned. The clear glass and glowing filament evoke feelings of a simpler time. However, the bulb I purchased is anything but simple, as it is an LED bulb (to conserve power) and dimmable (if a dimmer switch is installed). The dimmable nature of the bulb was a huge draw for me so that I could adjust the lighting level depending on what kind of mood I wanted to set. I found a plastic work light cover, which I screwed onto the light socket for the light bulb, to keep with the industrial aesthetic of the bulb and the bottle.
For the bottle, I decided to decorate it similarly to the vase pictured above. I purchased frosted glass spray paint from Home Depot and used rubber bands to create the sweeping curves of non-frosted glass on the bottle. Looking at the finished product, I started to notice that the curves were representative of some art nouveau works. I felt that the sweeping curves of clear glass was a clean and elegant feel to the bottle. Additionally, I decided to add Christmas lights into the bottle base of the lamp. This would help to add more flexibility to the lighting of the lamp, as well as provide emphasis to the frosted glass base.
In terms of colors, I wanted something that would compliment the warm light of the “Edison” bulb, so I decided to go with a matte gold color for the socket, cord, and work light cover. I also felt the gold would compliment the frosted glass look of the bottle and help to create the warm mood I wanted to associate the lamp with.
Building the Lamp
Once I found my inspirations and thought through the design, I began to build the lamp. I skipped the pretotyping step, outside of a few practice runs on smaller glass bottles. Moving into the final design building, I started with the large bottle below, and soaked the bottle in a mixture of water and dish detergent to get the labels off. I then used a Dremel tool with the routing bit to put a small hole through the bottle, which I then widened to allow for power cords to be pulled through the bottle.
The original bottle (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
The bottle: pre- and post-widening (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
After widening the bottle, it was time to focus on creating the light fixture itself. The main light consisted of four parts, the socket, work light cover, light bulb, and power cord (not pictured below). All but the power cord (found at home) were purchased at Home Depot. While the integration of these parts was not particularly challenging, it did require some modification to fit into the small openings which the bottle allowed, specifically at the top. I had to whittle the plug portions of the power cord to fit through the top of the bottle, which was significantly smaller than the diameter of the socket. This was something I hadn’t been prepared to do, due to some lack of planning in measuring all of my parts. However, I successfully shaved off enough plastic to slip the cord through the narrow bottleneck and pull it through the hole I had carved near the bottom.
The three parts of the light fixture (from left to right): Socket, Work Light Cover, Light Bulb (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
To ensure that the aesthetic of the bottle was maintained, I had to paint the socket, power cord, and work light cover a matte gold color. Additionally, I had to frost the bottle to help maintain the “simply elegant” aesthetic I was planning on. The rubber bands on the bottle seen in the picture above help to create the sweeping curves of unfrosted glass. I literally had to watch paint dry to ensure that no snow got on any of the parts, which are pictured below after painting.
The frosted bottle (above) and the golden work light cover, light socket, and power cord (below) (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
After the paint had dried, it was time to integrate the light fixture to the bottle. I slid the power cord through the top until the end which plugged into the socket was mostly flush with the top, screwed in the light bulb, and attached the work lamp cover using screws to clamp the halves down. At this point, the bottle looked like this:
The bottle lamp off (above) and on (below) (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
I still had to add the Christmas lights to the base of the lamp. This was a simple process of feeding the lights in through the bottle hole I had created. Below, the completed lamp is shown.
The final bottle lamp (Courtesy: Roshan Misra)
My Next Steps
Overall, I’m very happy with how this lamp turned out! For my first venture into making my own furnishings, I think I got the look and function I was going for and I’m super excited to use this in my room. I would like to refine some of the integration of the parts, specifically, to fix the light bulb at the top in place, round out the edges of the cord hole, and to integrate the power for the bulb and Christmas lights into a two switch system with one power cord. Currently, the bulb at the top is powered by one cord while the Christmas lights are powered by their own cord. I also want to add a dimmer switch for the top bulb so that I can reduce the brightness of it at nighttime since the bulb is currently very bright. Lastly, I want to purchase a more robust work light cover than the one currently on the lamp since it is a bit flimsy.