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Small Scale Design-Build

Adaptive Recycling and Reuse Projects in a Hand-Held Size


A darkness cast by a light can be just as important as the light itself. together they dance, hand in hand and side by side, they cascade across the walls in their elegant samba. it is impossible to look away from their mesmerizing display as you become consumed in the dancing shadows.

-Allison Hutton, Project Partner

Over 100 wooden slats are reused from a discarded privacy screen in order to form a new screen of their own. Ten slats, both vertically and horizontally aligned, are notched together with precision to form a cage around a single light source, encouraging its creative escape.

1/8” thick frosted Plexiglass was notched in the same pattern as the wooden slats to accommodate a contrasting glow to the solid web of shadows.

The new lamp shade sits atop a rudimentary "lazy susan" bearing that was machined out of scrap MDF and steel rollers from pre-laser computer mice. This rotating pedestal allows the lampshade to spin around the stationary spine and bulb, casting shadows that "dance" on any nearby surface.

Every piece of the existing table lamp is reused with the exception of its original shade.

The Clockwork Watch Box was the result of a challenge to use reclaimed library shelves to create a box that closes securely with a mechanism of some sort.

The inspiration for the screw jack elevator mechanism came from the hands of a clock and the intricate gear-driven machinery that creates that iconic motion. In this watch box, the collection compartment rests on top of a threaded rod. This rod is raised and lowered by a gear whose rotation is translated from the rotation of one of the "hands" on the box's front face.

Another component of this project was the preparation of documents that could be used to file for a patent for the box design. The resulting line drawings and diagrams demonstrate the constructability, materiality, and usage of the box. While the patent was never actually filed for, the concept of designing for a final product capable of easy reproduction was a driving force throughout the project.

This project provided countless learning opportunities about the limits of a material like wood and how critical precision is during the fabrication process. These lessons translate easily into the world of architectural design, just as they were intended.

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