Lamp A 灯 A

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Two years ago, when we moved into our last home, we needed a table lamp. Searching in IKEA, we found a lampstand with bargain price while lampshades were a bit expensive. Why not make one on our own? Soon, we got several ideas, tried and failed, neither too weak the structure—you know we have a cat—nor too dim the light.

Finally, we picked our colander, also from IKEA, to give a try. It has the same shape as a shade. The material has a little bit of transparency. Evenly distributed gaps for letting water go can also let light through. It proved to be a good idea. The light was bright enough and mild. Moreover, draining and shading didn’t really interfere with each other. The time it was used to drain things was short, just a couple of seconds per day. For the rest, it served as a shade.

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The table had two functions on each sides of its long dimension—working and cooking, both in need of light. Therefore, we made it movable by setting up a sliding track. The track was made of wire and fixed on a wooden beam above the table. Now, we got a shade and a track. How to connect them? —A hanging system composed primarily by clips. Why clip? First of all, we brought thousands of them from China for model making things. We felt happy to justify an old irrational action by using them more often. Secondly, clips can be interlocked one after the other, forming a chain, meanwhile yield a lot of connection points. It made the height of shade adjustable, and we made the adjusting process pleasant by adding a grabbing easy cork. Third, we can deal with clips by hands, which made the whole thing workable since we didn’t have any meaningful tool at that moment (not even now….).

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This project was done through making-trying other than the normal separated thinking-producing process. Discussions were barely based on paper or screen, but body movement and object assembled or dissembled. Based on the “enough but decent” principle, we achieved a critical comfortable level by maximizing the value of what we got and could get, in terms of both utility and aesthetic. Cheap, easy, flexible, useful, or good looking, you can put any word to describe it. For us, unlike buying something and placing, Lamp A didn’t enrich our life as a solid object, but do more through bridging us with the place in a honest and positive manner, thus making the place home.

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