Last week here in the Netherlands we celebrated King’s Day, King Willem-Alexander‘s birthday. That day is always filled with many outdoor festivities and festivals. It always starts with a tradition called ‘vrijmarkt’ [Dutch meaning Free-market] which takes place on streets in designated areas. Adults and children try to sell things they don’t longer need or play a musical instrument to earn a little pocket money. The merchandise costs very little money. Buying and selling is done mainly for pleasure and because throwing away is kind of a ‘sin’. Things that do not change ownership on that day, can be brought to a specially placed recycle centre unit.
You might think where is this story leading to? Please bear with me. On King’s Day we also tried to sell some things. And in one of the boxes filled with old objects from my mother in law, I found vintage ’60s metal shoe trees. The same like my dad used to have. Seeing them brought back some fond memories of me playing around with them when I was a kid. My father had red, green and orange ones. And to my surprise the ones in that box were also green. I put them aside hoping nobody would be interested, because I was!
Shoe trees come to life
And yesterday, to my big surprise, I stumbled upon upcycle design that used exactly the same type of metal shoe trees to create very original desk lamps. The design is called ‘Du Bon Pied‘ [French meaning On The Right Foot] and is created by a creative French company called LUMPO founded by Patrick Othoniel. Du Bon Pied uses the top section of the shoe tree as a light shield on an flexible rod attached to a nice wooden cube that accommodates a light switch. It’s almost as if these shoe trees come to life. Each model is unique and numbered. The lamps-sculptures LUMPO creates are built from revisited antiques and raw materials. Their handicraft production merges upcycling and originality. The light sources they use are only low-consumption LEDs.
Great about this little desk lamp is the fact that it uses, yes again, an object that today many kids wouldn’t recognize or even know what it was used for. I remember that people tried to keep their shows as new as they could. They would clean, polish and shine them. And they would use shoe trees to preserve its shape, stop it from developing creases and thereby extend the life of the shoe. My dad would use them during his travels to prevent shoes that were in his suitcase from being flattened. Those were the days!
“Light seems to be an obsession. I’m the type to rave in front of a setting sun ray on a staircase. Light and objects. The objects I have always picked up, repaired, patched, kept, raised. I haunted garage sales and filled mine. Compulsive collector (the list of my collections would be too long, ranging from snow balls to fruit labels). I don’t throw anything away. I hate this idea and that awful phrase: planned obsolescence.”
After his studies in fine arts he kept a ‘distorted view’ of the world. “For instance, a haystack and it’s a Monet. Three apples and it’s a Cézanne. But art can give new life to objects by assembling them as the Surrealists, recontextualizing them as Pop Art. It is also upcycling which is only ‘doing something new with the old’.”
Photos © LUMPO
If you like these desk lamps you should definitely have a look at LUMPO’s entire collection. I must say, very creative.
One more thing. Some people say coincidence doesn’t exist. Maybe. What I do know is that I found an object I hadn’t seen in a very very long time and a few days after that I came across this unique desk lamp made by upcycling that very same object, being a shoe tree. How weird is that?