Sunday, 11 March 2012

Design Part2

We wanted the letters to be chunky because a great part of their joy is the way that the edge lighting defines the form of the letter. Of course, there's more to them than what you see above the surface, rather like an iceberg.
It took about three weeks to make the first alphabet from plaster. What a nightmare.

The molds

The first models were made in softwood and tested on various friends, family acquaintances and other ne'er do wells who all seemed to really like them.
The original letters were refinished, to make them crisper and I removed the high gloss finish from the front elevations because it provided an undesirable glare.
We were aware that there is a huge argument going on in this product; a battle of the mass produced versus the hand crafted. Even though each of the letters is hand cast from a hand made original and has a unique diffusion pattern, the fact remains that they are made of resin.

Letters & leds

This meant that the plinths needed to be authoritatively hand made, as well as heavy and solid. In looking for a suitable hardwood we came across various blocks made of laminated hardwood. Despite it being harder to work with, not to mention more expensive than creating the plinths form one solid piece, the allure of all of those strips of end grain proved far too much and we chose it as our signature setting for our pieces.

The design for the plinths of the Name lights is, I think, rooted in the 20's or 30's. When I was about six, my maternal grandmother (who I don't ever remember meeting) died, and some of her things came to live with us. An onyx box full of old, interesting keys, boxed sets of dominoes, counters and playing cards, a hand bell from a cruise liner, leather driving gauntlets with fur backs, a big wooden sewing box.
For some reason these things fascinated me; even then I recognised that they were not like the things you could buy at that present time. The way those boxes and trinkets were made has fed into the way I design plinths and surrounds and they have an undeniably old-fashioned feel, right down to the green baize bottom.
From some points of view, it shouldn't work to combine the modern with the traditional but it does bind the piece and gives it presence. The popularity of Steampunk and its' many inferior derivatives has shown that there is an audience willing to accept the juxtaposition of the old-fashioned with the modern.

A final piece.
Although the "Name In Lights" is our signature thing, we have loads of ideas on the drawing board. One, near completion, is the message light, which is going to be fabulous and will enable our customers to order a lit message of up to 120 characters.
We have plans for a weekly contest on Twitter to "win your tweet"; you can read the details about that here.

Further down the line is a mini juke box, a self-contained lit planter for dark spaces and a sunbed for cats. Perhaps these will never get further than the drawing board but we suggest you bookmark us just in case.

Posted by Jill

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