London-based studio JamesPlumb, founded by designers James Russell and Hannah Plumb, has created a striking new series of lamps as part of its ‘Studies in Permanence’ collection. Each lamp has a cubed concrete block as a base (either square or rectangular), and, in place of a conventional shade, a sheet of lead that has been sculpted by hand to resemble wrinkled paper, and positioned in such a way that each lamp is entirely unique in its appearance.
When designing these pieces, the JamesPlumb duo wanted to jettison any adherence to the notion of “conventional perfection”, or the aesthetic principles to which so many mass-produced items must measure up. They told Dezeen: "In these works, no two pieces of lead will ever be the same shape – it's this guided unpredictability by the human hand that excites us."
Another interesting aspect of these lamps is the almost weightless appearance of the lead, which is actually, and ironically, significantly heavier than concrete.
When switched on, each lamp casts a remarkable shadow due to its unusual shape. This actually reinforces the contrast between the lead and concrete. And while it’s the former material that seems to be the main talking point in this range, due to its peculiar distortion in each piece, some emphasis is placed on concrete.
The sturdiness and regularity of the concrete bases gives a strong sense of foundation to the distorted “shades”. It is this very effect of the concrete that emphasises, in general terms, its own reliable permanence.