The idea for this project came from an earlier project I did for this class. In that class we were to make a “random” and I decided on making a random sculpture. The end result was a group of three geometric shapes that could connect to one another to create one larger sculpture. They were able to stick to each other because of 15 very strong rare-earth metal magnets placed just beneath the surface of the forms. The randomness came from the random way different classmates combined the shapes to construct the sculpture. I really like the piece and people seemed to really have a good time playing with it. (Still looking for pictures to post!)
Initially, I was going to take this project and make it more of a polished piece but it needed something more. Light! I really wanted to incorporate light into the piece so that when a form was connected to another in a given way a light within one of the pieces would turn on. But it still wasn’t enough. So I started playing with the forms and eventually came to the conclusion that I should use two shapes. It became too confusing (for me) to have to determine the the different combination just to turn on a light and I think others would lose interest. So I paired the sculpture down to two forms: the light and a base. And what is a light and a base? A lamp. I am making a lamp. But a sculptural one that sill maintains the essence of the earlier random sculpture.
For the purpose of the prototype I built the base using masonite that is lined with metal on the inside to give the light form something to stick to. The base and the light form can sit anywhere on a surface while it is off. To turn the light on one simply needs to place it on any surface of the base. The base itself can rest on any of its surfaces. When the light makes contact with the form it sticks to it using a magnet. When the magnet catches a switch closes a circuit that turns on the light. Should the user want to turn the light up or dim it they simply need to turn the form to the left or right as they would any dimmer dial. To turn the light off they simply pull the light form off the base.
For the final piece I need to figure out the construction of the light form and decide on a shape for the base. The base needs to be rebuilt out of sheet metal in order to provide a direct connection to the magnet in the light form. I still have quite a bit of work to do to figure out how to construct the mechanism that turns the light on and how to actually create the dimmer function. For this prototype I did actually make a crude switch using two triple A batteries and 6 leds but the magnet used to attach the light element to the base was just barely strong enough to hold the light without the lighting inside. I think the base being made of metal and using a slightly stronger metal will solve that problem.
Additionally, I am going to figure out how to charge the light. I could create a docking station of some sort but like the wireless component of the piece. For the time being I may need to rely on replaceable batteries but should I ever want to actually market this I would have to come up with a solution. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.