Inspired by a Tower Observed

The Park object is inspired by an observation tower located in Chřiby, Czechoslovakia. The country has many of these structures for observing the surrounding landscape, which can be stunning.

My inspired take, containing 4 OLED modules and dual dimming control.

The original lookout tower was designed by Jan Smékal and Tomáš Hutyr from the Prostějov company.

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Retrospective 1969-1970: My First Invention

Introduction

The story told here is real. However, I have added a bit of humor to it for entertainment purposes. The actions taken, timeline, and responses to it are real, the description of it is a dramatization of actual events to make it more fun to read. No names have been changed.

Background

As a kid, I glued and painted everything. Making stuff from wood and found objects was the greatest form of entertainment around, next to stinking up the house with unsupervised chemistry set experiments. The reasons are pretty obvious:

  • No computers or video games
  • 3 channels on antenna TV
  • The only thing streaming in 1969 was water, down actual streams
  • No smart phones and all the trappings that go with them

So, I made things. Gokarts from wood and lawn mower take-off wheels, to walking stilts made from scrap 2 x 4’s. Wenatchee was the center of the Wenatchee Youth circus, so you walked on stilts and rode unicycles – including delivering newspapers on them. The place was a bit bizarre, but wonderful to grow up in.

Problem Definition

The glue of choice in those days was Elmer’s Glue-All. The problem was, at the time, the stuff came with one of two caps designs. The separate little press on cap, and the twist cap design.

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Lean Objects

The idea behind the Lean Series of Lighted Art Objects is to communicate the general architectural imagery, in a small abbreviated scale that provides an ambient presence when placed on a table. The concept is similar to editing a story down to the least number of words, while still communicating the intended imagery.

Lean Empire

Initially, I created 6 variations that range from Deco to Brutal. These artist proofs are one-off items, meaning these are part of an exploration of the forms, involving significant hand working to produce. Future objects may follow, but these will not be reproduced as they are shown.

The soft light from the OLED panels provides a pleasant reading light, while the dual face also illuminates the wall or surfaces behind, adding to ambient illumination in addition to adding artistic detail to an interior.

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Villa – a Lighted Center Piece

Center peices are commonplace. Lighted centerpieces not illuminated by candles are not. The reason is fairly simple – no power available.

I created an architecturally inspired Lighted Art Object as a center peice for a dining or conference table.

The base includes a 10Ah lithium battery pack that is rechargeable through a detachable charger. It testing the finished piece, it lasted 60 hours at a medium low setting (35% brightness), and 13 hours at the highest brightness setting. With (4) OLED sources, both ambient and more functional task lighting are both possible.

Villa

The concept is derived from the low, extended rooflines of Wright architecture, as well as a little from Meese Van der Roe.

Total height was kept below 11.5″ to avoid people sitting across the table being obstructed from seeing one another. It’s general scale will work for a table from 30″ to 36″ wide.

Inspiration from an iconic work.
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Space Exploration

Where we work tells the story of who we are. I enjoy space planning and getting the most out of small environments. I don’t enjoy excessive space filled with… well, space. Also not a fan of architectural spaces that offer volumes of open space. I find the echoes of cloppity-clopping of feet on marble surfaces and reverently hushed voices annoying. This seems an American thing, where scale of space and purpose are out of synch. Visiting Europe, or older sections of large cities anywhere, I find the ratio of space to purpose in better proportion. Less pretence, more utilization and intimacy – and less hallowed shrine to the gods of capitalism, perhaps?

I once expanded operations from a shared purpose three car garage to a facility of over 4,500s.f. – thinking more was better. But, what I found was a sense of inefficiency. A friend once commented that space had a tendency to fill itself. He was right. It’s like a lifeform with an insatiable appetite for “stuff”, leading to a need for more space. It was amazing how much junk became “necessary”.

In 2019, I down-sized everything by eliminating redundant accumulated equipment (donated to a Maker Center), and clearing/recycling “stuff.” The process was liberating.

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An Inspiration from the West

The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco is a familiar icon of the city. Building started in 1969, opening in 1972, it stood ready to take on the worst quakes of the region.

My take on the iconic pyramid

I remember the stories about its design approach and why the shape was chosen.

My take features the pyramid – but also includes expression of the structural base. with an internal pyramid reflector element. I also created lighted features at the base and exaggerated the expressed elevator core wings as lighting features. The open mid section captures the open and lighted feeling one gets when approaching the structure from the ground level. I also opened the peak section, as a nod to the two lighted window sections.

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Exclusivity of Works Offered

The objects created and offered through Lumenique are not production products. Lumenique is the name of my design studio, not a product manufacturing organization.

The following is extracted from my Terms page, describing how I characterize and keep records of completed works.

Provenance Record Keeping

Every product made is identified by a unique serial number code label placed on its base. This serial number is logged into the Lumenque database with a reference image and description, and data indicating the item completion date, and type of work coded (see definitions below.) The unique serial number can also be used to replace a work that has been destroyed – with proof and return of the remains of the destroyed item, on which a quote for replacement will be issued for approval prior to remaking the lost work. For this reason, we recommend keeping a record of the serial number for future reference.

Definitions of Terms Used
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About Plastics Use in Lighted Objects

There is a very real concern that plastics are harming our environments. To some, this means that anything made from the stuff is to be avoided as dangerous. Which is unfortunate. As it is with any raw material, there are pros and cons to be considered – so objectivity is key to understanding.

Since a great deal of what I make uses 3D printed plastic, I am sensitive to how potential customers perceive it. I am also aware of the role plastics play in improving our lives, as well as the damage being done by abuse of the material.

The following is a brief of how I see plastics use as it relates to what I am directly involved in – founded on 12 years of development.

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Paths to Realization of an Art Object

Doing artwork for a living does not require you be crazy to begin with, but it will certainly get you there. Whether it’s illustration work, photography, painting, or making lighted objects, every work has a piece of the author baked into it. That’s what separates art from product design or graphics. So what happens with the resulting product is equally personal.

As a lighting designer, I felt a personal connection with my work, but the intimacy was diluted by the number of people between the creative vision and the end product. The finished design and process was a team-involved collective effort. The myopia and hyper vigilance over details invisible to others softened the self criticism. Few can visualize light in space during the design process – that’s what makes lighting design a true professional art (sorry lighting science nerds, it is not about formulas and compliance, it is art, even when it isn’t.) That means that even when the end product was less than artistically perfect, you still create magic.

The same cannot be said of works created with your own hands, where you own the entire process from inspiration to finished object in hand. Every detail, surface, finish, mistake and success, are 100% on the creator. Imperfect is failure; Just send it to the landfill – I’m going to work at the Home Depot stocking shelves, I suck!

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