Pothole Lamp by Diefabrik 23.08.11

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No one really associates a pothole with a lamp," says Stefan Hölldobler, product designer of German practice Diefabrik, who designed Schlaglochlampe, a lampshade formed by potholes.

When first shown at DMY in Berlin this year, Schlaglochlampe met with a variety of reactions. Visitors were puzzled by its white colour, bumpy surface and variable size and speculated as to how it was made: "People thought that the shape comes from scrambled eggs, or from rocks and corals," Hölldobler says. Sticking with one colour "was a nice way of abstracting the shape ... We produced it in brown but it looked like a cookie; we produced it in grey and it looked like a rock. We did not want to give too much of a hint," he explains.

In Germany potholes are a delicate issue, a cause of frustration for cyclists and car drivers. "They cost a lot of money to repair and reappear in different shapes. They are an example of our wear-and-tear society," Hölldobler says. "We thought it would be interesting to explore this emotional topic."

The lampshade is made from Arboblend, a sustainable and biodegradable material that looks like porcelain and contains a wood extract called lignin. It was rigorously tested for its suitability. "It has a smooth and nice touch," Hölldobler says.

Diefabrik also spent time on the streets carrying out research. "It was an adventurous project. We drove around looking for nice and aesthetically pleasant potholes," Hölldobler says. Gypsum was poured into the pothole to create a mould, which was then protected by covering it with a metal plate. Once the gypsum mould has been removed, it is then inserted into a vacuum-forming machine with a sheet of 4mm Arboblend to make the lampshade. Hölldobler says: "What fascinated us was that it's a very simple way of getting a product done because the cars and the weather have already done the majority of the work."




Stefania Vourazeri




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People thought that the shape comes from scrambled eggs, or from rocks and corals

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