About this project
Why A Lamp?
Over the last several years, there has been a move toward compact fluorescent light bulbs for home lighting. These bulbs are shaped like a "curlycue" because they are trying to fit a long tube in a small space. Form also followed function in Edison's bulbs. The bulbs were glass globes, because the filaments needed to be in a vacuum to function properly. Not only did the bulbs give us light, but they were also beautiful sculptures.
With Alva I am trying to capture the beauty of those early bulbs. There are several companies today that sell reproductions of early Edison bulbs, but they are still too bright to look at and enjoy. With Alva I have been able to create a lamp that looks like an large Edison light bulb. It is bright enough to read by while not being so bright as to hurt one's eyes.
Last fall I began working on Alva. I sketched pages of variations to determine the best way to display a glowing coil. It took me several weeks and many materials until I found the best solution for the filament itself. I toyed with the idea of not using a glass bulb, or replacing the glass with a simple wire to suggest the bulb shape while leaving the filament exposed. In the end, I felt that the way Edison displayed his prototypes for demonstration would be best...a simple base holding a bulb vertically.
I thought is was important that each part be made by skilled craftsman, so I sought out local artists to partner with. The first lamp was made by me, a wood worker, and a glass blower. Each part was made according to early drawings that I had done. Clair made the base from walnut, Scott blew the glass bulb, and I made the filament. This first lamp was beautiful. I gave it to my father for Christmas, and everyone that saw it fell in love with it.
I thought it would be nice to make a few and sell them, but there was a problem. They were really expensive to make. If I made them exactly like the one for my father, I would have had to sell them for over $1000. I thought this was too expensive, so I went back to the drawing board and worked on ways that we could make it more cost effective without compromising the quality.
One of the issues that added a lot of cost to the lamp was that each base had to be cut to fit each new bulb since no two bulbs were alike. This meant that every lamp would essentially be a one-off. I began looking at ways to help standardize the sizes of the base and bulb while maintaining their handmade production. After talking to Scott, we decided that a wooden mold for the glass would help to produce more consistent results. For the base, we changed from wood to ceramics to help create a more consistent base. Using my background in design, I was able to model the parts in CAD on the computer so that I knew they would fit together well.
The 3D files were then used to make the molds for both the glass bulbs and the ceramic bases with a high degree of precision. These changes have allowed us to double our production capabilities. This allows us to transform an expensive piece of art into an affordable lamp.
What I am now able to offer is a beautiful lamp that is completely handmade and assembled. It has a glass bulb made by a local glass artist, and a base made by an expert ceramicist. I shape each of the filaments by hand before assembling each of these pieces into a finished lamp. The lamps are powered by an LED light bulb that helps to keep the lamp cool, while shining brightly. The included LED bulb is designed to last for years (the LED bulb is easily replaced after removing a few screws). For this first run, we are offering the base in three classic colors...brown, white, or black. (You will be able to choose your base color after this funding campaign is completed.)
The lamp that was used in the pictures and video was a prototype. The final lamp that we will be shipping will look the same except for a few detail improvements. This lamp compliments every setting we have placed it in. It never fails to draws people attention. If you are looking for a unique lamp to add to your home, please help me by backing my project and receive your own Alva lamp. They will be made in very limited production to help maintain the highest quality product. Get your Alva now so you are not left waiting in the dark.
All pledge amounts for Alva include USA lower 48 state shipping. All other North American shipping (Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada) please add $30 to your pledge. If you are anywhere else (Europe, Australia, South America, etc.) please add $60 for shipping. PLEASE NOTE: This lamp was designed to be used with North American electrical outlets (120V). Due to worldwide outlet differences you would need to supply a converter that would allow you to use it where you live. Thank You.
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