Let There Be Eco Light: Casting a glow on upcycled Lighting

oliver General, Materials, Recycling / upcycling

Upcycling is without doubt the one environmental design area that really delights and captures the public’s imagination. So, I thought I’d combine this creative genre with my love of lighting to bring you a blog post on my favourite upcycled lighting design. I’m sure, like me, you’ll be drawn to them like a moth to a…well, you see where I’m going with this.

Vintage chic is all the rage, but sometimes I find faux retro merchandise a bit too contrived. Nothing beats the real deal. And it doesn’t get more vintage than this. These Lamponi Lamps use vintage appliances and motor parts to create really elegant upcycled lighting.





Why is it that you can never find a pen when you need one? Perhaps it’s because they’ve all been used to create this really stunning disposable pen chandelier. This is a great example of taking a simple everyday object and reusing it to create something beautiful. Plus, with one of these in the house you’ll always know where to find something to write with. The only down side is i bet these are new pens and not all old up-cycled pens – which would have added real ingenuity and authenticity to the design …. still its hard not to love the use of multiples …….





Regular readers will know I have a bit of a thing for cardboard. I just think it’s a really great and often underused material. So, I was delighted when I came across these recycled cardboard pendant lights by German designer Michael Wolke. I just really love the warm feel and touch of cardboard and these lights utilise that perfectly.





One of the biggest things to hit lighting in the last few years is the rise of low energy, low heat LED light bulbs. These little beauties look set to revolutionise home lighting. They’ve also opened a whole load of doors in terms of what materials can be used to make lamps and lampshades.  I especially love these ring-pull shades (where did they get all those ring pulls – from scrabbling round the bins ?) and wine glass chandeliers which i think would work even better with collections of random vintage (otherwise unloved) glasses. This could be upcycling at its very best.







Since we’re on the subject of using household objects to make great lighting, I also really like this fork and spoon chandelier. Sometimes chandeliers can be a little bit ostentatious but by using vintage materials like this, they look really elegant.



A little less showy are these pendant lights made from coloured keyhole plates. I really like the way the colours work together and the fact you can see the light shining through the keyholes themselves.





This three-part pendant light is made from recycled kitchen canisters. The kind where you usually keep coffee, tea and the like. I think they look great as a lamp set and that this is a really fine example of how a simple upcycling idea can have really stunning results.



The same goes for Kozo Lamps, which use old piping and plumbing supplies to make really beautiful desk and pendant lights. I really like the fact that old taps act as the light switch. It’s a really good way of reminding us of the original use of the materials, and a convenient way of turning the lamp on and off.


I couldn’t resist showing you one more example of how beautiful cardboard can look when it is used well. These Scraplights from Graypants use corrugated cardboard, salvaged from bins to make these simple, yet elegant lampshades. The corrugated nature of the cardboard diffuses light and creates stunning patterns on the walls.





Lastly, but not leastly, are these upcycled metal teapots by my good friend and designer maker Carola Del Mese. These are stunning, hand-crafted pieces made from vintage metal teapots. I think you’ll agree that they will look really wonderful with a small tea light candle popped inside and we were lucky enough to own one of her wonderful creations (sorry to make you jealous!).





So if youre having a light bulb moment, dont just head down to the shops – the opportunities to get creative with low heat, low energy lighting and upcycled materials is only limited by your time and imagination. Perhaps its time to cast some light and fresh thinking on how we light the spaces around us.