Two weeks ago upcycleDZINE showed a real upcycle design classic and I told you that I would soon show you another one. Well today I’m showing you one of my favorites and one of the most impressive upcycle design chandeliers I know. It’s a design with an aesthetic that’s really timeless and has inspired many designers with its beauty and originality.
Blown up porcelain
I’m talking about incredible German designer Ingo Maurer who created a chandelier called ‘Porca Miseria!, a suspension lamp made with porcelain shards. Ingo Maurer, born in 1932, studied graphic design in Munich | Germany. 1960 Maurer left Germany for the United States, where he worked in New York and San Francisco as a freelance graphic designer. In 1963, he moved back to Germany, and founded Design M, a company that developed and manufactured lamps after his own designs. The company was later renamed to ‘Ingo Maurer GmbH‘.
Ingo Maurer is one of the most innovative and influential lighting designers working today who has exhibited in many leading museums around the world. The company has two spacious showrooms, one in New York and the other in Munich. Among his best-known designs are the winged bulb Lucellino (1992) and Porca Miseria! (1994).
I love this chandelier design for several reasons. First because it looks absolutely amazing. Second because it’s a great example of upcycle design. And the third reason is something I discovered when I searched for info about Porca Miseria! Let me explain. I’m not sure if you read about why I started upcycleDZINE and designing upcycle lamps. It all started when I was walking around the well known Salone del Mobile during the Milan design week. The first time I went there I searched for great design. And there was lots of it. At some point even to much, because I noticed that all the great designs that where out there did nothing for the environment or didn’t add anything to what was already there. Except of course a few young designers who where willing to stand out. Well after I realized this I started to focus on upcycle design and wanted to show what is all about.
So when I read the story on how Ingo Maurer came to create his chandelier I could really relate to that. It was when he went to Milan once: “I found too many designs there slick and design-conscious. Porca Miseria! is partly a kind of revolt against that tendency.” The chandelier was first called ‘Zabriskie Point‘ after a film by Antonioni where a castle was blown up in slow motion. “But then the first few Italians came, and — since no one had seen this ever before — said, ‘Porca miseria!’ which is a kind of a cuss: “What bad luck!” So I immediately changed the name to Porca Miseria!.”
Ingo Maurer GmbH produces the chandelier in a limited number. They do only 10 a year. It takes four people almost five days to create one. Porcelain plates are bought at a regular shop. “First, we smash them: I have one, I drop it; or I take a hammer to it. It looks very much at random — and it is, maybe 50 or 60 percent. The rest is in a way constructed: There’s a bit of calculation of how big I want to have the piece I want to use.”
Photos © Ingo Maurer GmbH
Just like TOUR, the design isn’t created out of waste. But they both point out to look at objects in a different way. In a way that a certain object could get a new life, different function. And by doing so ideas get triggered to transform waste and old stuff into new design pieces.
I really hope, like I do with all other designs here on upcycleDZINE, that it will inspire you to take a second look at waste.