Historically, lighting fixtures have been designed by many famous architects, sometimes as a part of a building and at other times as a discrete sculptural object. This project asks you to design a lamp that is both. Each team shall design a pendant lamp to be displayed in Steinberg Hall Gallery. The lamp’s proportions, its construction details, and its light-mediating materials are all important and will determine the fixture’s overall composition. As your design evolves, you must decide what portion of the light illuminates the object itself and what portion of light is emitted.
The site of your intervention will be Steinberg Hall Gallery. Steinberg Hall was originally completed in 1960 by Fumihiko Maki. It was his first commission after teaching here at Washington University. The folded concrete plates are perhaps the most distinctive feature of the building. Please be sure to revisit and study the gallery closely before we begin so you are familiar with the room and the ceiling within it. Your fixtures will be suspended from the recently installed light beams below the folded ceiling; therefore, you will need to consider it as a component of the site. As you begin this project think about how the form of that ceiling and your fixture will interact. Think about the height above the floor at which it will be mounted and think about the visual impact of how bright or dim it will be.
Each group will be given two LED light bulbs and a pre-made socket with a cord and plug attached. The bulbs are identical, except one is clear and the other is frosted. After illuminating both and exploring the differences, you will begin the design process. Begin with simple sketches and experimental maquettes. As you challenge yourselves, please keep a record of your drawings and models. The process is critical and will help to explain your decisions.
In the spirit of professor emeritus Leslie Laskey’s class, this project also involves an exploration of materials. These include bendable steel wire in 2 gauges, Bristol board, and frosted mylar film. Please bring mat knives, scissors, cutting boards, and adhesives. We will supply wire cutters and wire-bending jigs. Remember that the method of attaching and holding the materials together is an integral part of the design.
Your final light fixture must fit within a volume no larger than an 18” cube. Be prepared to use the supplied materials judiciously but effectively.