Brutalist Lamp Progress

I have made a lot of progress on my Brutalist lamp project this week. After ordering and receiving all of my parts from McMaster-Carr, I went to home depot to get everything I needed to pour my concrete form. I bought some plywood and a 1×4 for the structure of the form, and then concrete itself. I used quickrete topping mix, which comes pre mixed with sand as an aggregate. This will give the final product a smooth finish. I also bought concrete form release to allow the wood to separate from the concrete after it cures. Here are some images of the form:

To build the form, I measured and cut the wood using my roomate’s circular saw (thanks Rachel!). I then taped everything together with painters tape, which actually worked very well. I was originally going to use screws, but this was too much work for something that doesn’t need to support any weight other than the concrete. I used pieces of the 1×4 to create an interesting shape so that the concrete isn’t just a square block. These should leave indents in the surface of the concrete that add to the item’s brutalist aesthetic.


Next, I prepared the form by putting the aluminum tubing into position and spraying everything with form release. When the form was ready, I got a few of my classmates together to help me with the pour. We used masks and gloves for safety, and mixed the concrete in a home depot bucket. We added just enough water to get all of the concrete wet, and then used a shovel to fill the form with concrete. We ended up using about half of the 60 pound bag, meaning that this lamp is going to be a little bit over 30 pounds! This matches my weight prediction, and I decided not to use styrofoam as an infill because I wasn’t too worried about the weight and I was worried it would be bad for the surface finish if any styrofoam sticks out.

The concrete is currently curing, and the hardest part of the project is done! All I have to do now is wire my lightbulb, make a lampshade (I am thinking of using a metal bowl for this) and assemble my tube joints. I am glad I was able to get this much work done on schedule, and the pour seems to have gone really well. I am excited to see how my more intricate shape turns out. I designed it so that there are handles in the concrete itself so that it is easier to lift.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Juliette Goubeaud
    April 14, 2024 11:29 pm

    This is looking so cool so far! I’m very impressed with your method for holding the cement too. If you use a metal bowl for the lampshade portion of this, would it be a solid bowl or a bowl with some holes poked in it? In any case I can’t wait to see the final product!

    • Alex Gebben
      May 7, 2024 5:45 pm

      I ended up using a plastic cup from Target which worked very well instead of a metal bowl.

  • Duncan Laird
    April 14, 2024 7:32 pm

    Hi Alex, looks like you’ve made a lot of progress on your project. Just taping the wood together for the mold was a good idea and probably saved time in the pouring process. Have you tried taking it out of the mold yet? Good luck on the rest of your project.


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