For my project, I have some very specific looks I am going for in the sense of portraying my aesthetic and utilizing light. First, since I am going for the concrete brutalist aesthetic, I want to produce the smoothest surface finish on the lamp as possible. I hope to have the exterior concrete shell of my lamp be as smooth as possible, almost yielding a skate part smoothness. 

A finish like this is highly sought after and I hope I can utilize concrete adhesives and mixtures to achieve this. My second desire for the final outcome is to have the “decaying” portion of the lamp very prominent. I mean, I want the exposed rebar to be very visible, and I want a large cavity to be visible as this is one of the “dynamic” parts of my project. To succeed in this, I will have to be very careful with my sand mold, and ensure that the concrete is well mixed so there is no possibility of powder formation within the mold. Another design goal I have is to ensure the weight of my overall assembly is reasonable so I can move the lamp around. I have done some back of the napkin calculations and found that the overall weight will be 120 lbs. For me, this is ok, however, I need to ensure that I can remain within the weight range when I add the rebar, lights, and stand. Another criteria I would like to hit is ensuring my light offers warmth to the surroundings. I will know I have achieved my desired aesthetic if I can mix the darkness of Brutalism with a little warmth from my Edison style light bulb.

On the other hand, my project comes with many constraints and challenges. To begin, I have not really worked with concrete in my years so I need to learn how to achieve smooth surface finishes that will stand the test of time. In addition, I need to find all of the necessary equipment to mix the concrete. 

Another constraint is wiring the light with PVC through the concrete pour, and ensuring that there is a connection during the curing process. Which stems from my third largest constraint, the curing process. I need to create a calm environment for the concrete to cure in for 72 hours, I also need to ensure that when the concrete cures, I will be able to pry off the wood frame and suck out the sand with a vacuum. Another large constraint is time, I will need to spend a lot of time preparing the rebar, concrete, and fixturing which will all allow me to successfully pour the concrete.

 I think the overall toughest part of this project will be learning the proper techniques for a successful concrete pour. However, Becky from the Idea Forge is very well knowledgeable in this field so I will be working with her! 



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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Barrett Lister
    April 14, 2024 6:31 pm

    Alex cool project!

    I am a sucker for large sized projects and yours being 120 pounds roughly is awesome. Sounds like Becky from the IF has got you back but I also want to throw in my two cents on concrete: Concrete is a very forgiving material being that it’s cheap, takes a long time to set so you can correct mixture ratios if it’s too soupy or too dry, and it’s easily scalable. You have a picture of a concrete mixer in your post but I have always simply mixed it in a home depot bucket and a wooden stick no problem. Additionally a quick go to for your surface finish: for smooth concrete I suggest more water than normal and a very heavy amount of mixing. To get that skate park finish you might have to add in oil or something, on that I don’t know.


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