In this last post of 2017 I want to go back to September 2014. In that month upcycleDZINE published a post about a design called Quercus by product/industrial designer Max Ashford, whilst studying at Falmouth University. This aesthetic and amazing upcycle design desk lamp is one of the most popular lamps on this website.
You may be wondering why this design appears again in a new post. Well, because three years have gone by and a lot has happened regarding this design and it’s designer. So this post is kind of an update on the original article. And because Quercus is one of my favourites, I thought it was appropriate to end the year with this design.
Entirely recyclable and easy to disassemble
So what has happened since the original design? Quercus has been refined and developed into a more functional lamp, whilst also extensively investigating the construction. And another big change is that Max Ashford founded greeb, a new product studio aiming to improve the world through design. greeb is a sustainable product design studio that aims to challenge the status quo and explore new ways to make nice things that benefit the planet.
Quercus mk2 is their first investigation into the use of waste. The work is divided into two trajectories: designing with waste and designing for the future; using new and innovating process, systems and materials to create more functional and environmentally beneficial goods.
The thin wooden curved upcycle design lamp is intended as a showcase in how beautiful waste can be and in designing waste. Quercus communicates the idea that waste has the potential to be a valuable commodity, that waste can be more than just… waste.
Designed with the full life-cycle in mind, Quercus is sustainably sourced, entirely recyclable and easy to disassemble into its constituent parts. greeb: “As a product, it portrays the importance of encouraging design with waste, and call to action to improve on current design thinking – a step toward a sustainable circular economy.”
Like I said, the first version of Quercus garnered much attention in off- and online media. As a result, there was a good deal of interest asking if it was available to order. But back then being a poor student with a degree to finish, Max didn’t get the chance to make Quercus everything it could be.
And now there’s the finished product that still produces that familiar pool of pleasant warm light from a low energy bulb. It compliments its environment when switched on or switched off. Quercus is designed not only as a product, but also as a system. Every component has been selected to allow the lamp to be fully disassembled and recycled, or parts replaced where necessary. No components are permanently joined. This proves how good the design is. All parts interact with one another to create functional details.
The wood is sourced from naturally fallen British Oak, by tree surgeons working to create healthier woodlands. Only the finest straight-grained timber can be bent through steaming, a process that requires nothing but hot water and patience. Treated using nut-based oils, the result is a product that will degrade in to nature’s recycling system after a long life of use.
David Gillingham, WildWood:
“The journey from fallen tree to finished lamp is what it’s all about for me, steaming and bending wood that would have been otherwise burnt on a fire or left to rot – it really connects you to the material.”
The lampshade is made of a discarded wine bottle collected from a local restaurant. these bottles are very suitable for use as a lamp because of their functional form, perfect for housing a bulb. The light is directed in a surrounding yet focused spread. It also visually maintains the link to where the component was sourced. As a waste wine bottle, the glass can be recycled almost anywhere.
Photos © greeb
Carefully sourced from Europe (with the exception of the UK plug), all of the components are recyclable. The cable is made on traditional machines in Milan, the EU plug in Germany, the bulb holder, Denmark.
Here’s a short video displaying the making of the original lamp, mk1.
Quercus will be handmade by skilled craftsmen and produced in limited numbers. I hope these numbers are not too ‘limited’ knowing a lot of people will be interested.