Making: RIBA - barber chairs turned into a monster lamp

May 22, 2022



Imagine this - you just got yourself involved in a... let's call it a "game". You receive two far too old and cranky barber chairs and you can make with them anything you want. What would you do?

Well, maybe you got some exceptional ideas about it (and I will be more than happy to know about them) but I am here to share my journey with these chairs and how they became this monstrous floor lamp.

From chairs to lamp - the process

You remember the piranha plant from Nintendo's Super Mario? And you know this deep sea creature, the angler fish (there was one in Pixar's Finding Nemo movie)? These two are the backbones of the RIBA floor lamp. Now, let me tell you more about it...

Ideas come to us all the time and from all directions. And I believe when we come up with "new" ideas it is actually what we already have in our head, only structured differently. Strained and molded by our own perspective of the world. Or at least this is how I see creativity - new ideas are usually based on previous ones, iteration after another. A never ending process that leads to great achievements like building skyscrapers, flying in space, instant internet communication, exceptional technologies and such. The human mastermind is exceptional... But lets get back to the more simple things in life and how I used other people's ideas in my project.

As most kids, I was a big fan of video games and I remember the first time I saw Super Mario 64 with my own eyes... it was literally mind-blowing to me back then in 1999. I was amazed at this whole new world, so mesmerizing and bizarre and imaginary. This feeling sunk in my mind and still remains. So this was the first association I made when I saw the barber chairs - I imagined the piranha flower that was always hungry for Mario. Quite expressive with its teeth and despite the missing face. I was going to make something like it, something with character and teeth. Thank you for that, Nintendo!

Okay now I had the piranha plant to get me going, and I had to come up with a more specific idea of how the whole thing would look and feel like. So I went on to sketch it up before I use the saw. And putting it on paper got me elsewhere... This monster fish from Finding Nemo (yes, I like animations, too). And then it all just came together, I knew what I was doing (or at least most of the time I did).

Now it was time for the saw and chisels to jump in and do their magic. Of course, I put my print on it and I even used the same mold I use for the ARKA floor lamp to make the rod. Yes, I was surprised how well it fits and took as a sign that it was destiny for me to build this!

Finally, I did my part in this iteration of the angler fish and if it wasn't my childhood memory of Super Mario I doubt this project would look the way it does. So credit goes back to Nintendo and Pixar, and even further to the people who inspired them to create what they did. You get it? Ideas are linked just as people are. And I hope this creation of mine serves as someone else's next idea.


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