Scandium – The Making of a Monster
Part of our Earth range, the scandium lamp was designed by the very talented Eva Baron. The concept behind the range was to showcase raw and processed metals, displaying their unique colours & patinas. To give proper voice to the idea we ended up with 14 lamps in the range, double the number of any previous range.
This is the story behind the making of Scandium, one of the cordless lamps in the Earth range. At almost a metre tall and weighing in at 12kg the lamp is described as oversized, a more accurate description would be, it’s a monster.
The surfaces of Scandium are a combination of pewter, brass, aluminium and gunmetal, some highly polished, others in their raw state. The first challenge in taking the lamp from paper to production was weight. Making the piece from solid metal meant it would be too heavy to move, this flies directly in the face of the Alexander Joseph ethos of being able to move cordless lamps to wherever they are needed. The solution was to create a mould, then apply the metal to it. The trick would be to apply the various metals in a way to ensure and even and luxurious finish. To achieve this, we commissioned a new workshop with a specialist metal paint shop. The paint is actually tiny particles of the various metals to be used on the lamp which are turned into a liquid format, then sprayed through a gun similar to those used by car body shop. Once the paint dries it reverts to its natural metal state. Then the process of either scuffing or polishing the surfaces begins. Each metal used needs to be applied separately, so this stage of the process is time consuming.
Customers choose the final ‘look’ of their lamp, so each lamp body then enters a bespoke finishing process, this includes adding patinas, aging, and several types of lacquering dependent on the desired finish.
The handmade solid brass lamp fittings are finished in the same style of the lamp. So, if the lamp body has been aged or has a patina the fittings will be finished to match, or even contrast dependent upon customer wishes.
The square base of the lamp is made from steel, which is painted piano black then lacquered, with welding, filing, sanding, undercoating then painting and finishing this element consuming four days of labour. The sconce is a beautifully crafted 10mm thick piece of solid brass. Each piece is hand finished to fit its host body.
The lampshade always brings the lamp to life, so it is critical to choose the right style, fabric and finish. Our recommendation to customers is to use a 19” drum shade, then customise from there. Our ‘go-to’ choice for this particular lamp is to use an Ivory silk satin outer with a clear card inner. We choose to use a harp which supports a frosted diffuser, then finish the lamp with an oversized finial in piano black to match the base.
Taking the various elements in their entirety (including drying and curing), Scandium represents 10 weeks of continuous effort.