For this upcycling project, I plan to use a large sheet of scrap paper, scrap wood, and components from an unused lamp to make a functioning mid-century modern lamp with origami elements in the form of a lampshade/light diffuser. I’m drawn to the mid-century movement and I believe that the aesthetic goes very nicely with the geometrical shapes and patterning of origami. Mid-century modern is characterized by its use of clean lines, organic forms, simple shapes, and intentional usage of color . The use of wood or natural materials is especially prominent, the below image showcases the woodwork I hope to emulate in my upcycling project:
In the above two images note the clean lines and angles of the furniture alongside the use of prominent wood grains. Furniture of this aesthetic prides itself on the materials that are used, with clean and varnished wood being a staple. Mid-century modern furniture also uses textures with high contrast, see the first of the above images and the patterned cushion texture versus the smooth chair wood. One final staple of the aesthetic is the notable use of pegs that the wooden furniture stands on, Which can also be seen in the two above images.
I also want to emulate the style of the Japanese paper Noguchi lamps. Using typical paper lantern-making techniques these lamps have a warm atmosphere and draw the eyes to differing parts of the structures. While some of these lamps use more organic shapes, as seen in the below image by Vice Magazine some of Isamu Noguchi’s more compelling works come in the form of his more geometric lamps.
The below image perfectly highlights the mixture of origami and light I’m aiming for in my design. I find the diffusion of light extremely pleasing and the geometric shapes I feel work extremely well with the design elements of mid-century modern. When this kind of design is done well you end with a seeming column of textured light. Though these lamps are closer to a modern aesthetic if natural wood and the typical peg feet were added I believe this design would become a prime example of the mid-century modern aesthetic.
For the overall design of this project, I plan to glue two individual pieces of scrap wood together to make them large enough for a baseplate and then use a CNC machine to mill the wooden block down into an octagonal shape with an indent. I also plan to use a 3d printed internal plate to attach the paper lampshade with magnets to the wooden base, which in the end will be hidden by the wooden frame. The lampshade will be a Yoshimura Polyhedral which is a cylindrical tesselating origami shape. This folding pattern is also called a Schwarz lantern, which is one of the major reasons for me choosing this folding pattern as the shade for this lamp. One strength of this design is its ability to expand and contract like an accordian: giving me the flexibility to change to size of the shade to best fit the design. An example of this pattern is shown in the following images:
  Tardiff, Sara. “8 Midcentury Modern Decor & Style Ideas.” Architectural Digest, July 6, 2020. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/midcentury-modern-decor-basics-that-every-beginner-should-know.  “What Do We Mean by Mid Century Modern (MCM)?” TheFurnitureRooms, August 2, 2022. https://thefurniturerooms.co.uk/blogs/mid-century-design-furniture/what-is-mid-century-modern-mcm.  “Where to Find the Best Noguchi Lamps-the ‘it’ Lamp of 2023.” The 21 Best Noguchi and Japanese-Style Rice Paper Lamps, October 30, 2023. https://www.vice.com/en/article/bvn3z8/noguchi-japanese-paper-lamp.  “Isamu Noguchi Lantern Experimentation.” Instagram. Accessed January 31, 2024. https://www.instagram.com/p/CW84EeGPwB5/?utm_source=ig_embed&ig_rid=a14ce5c3-860a-41fe-a33e-9224b64b6751.