How I turned teenagers’ trash into designer chandeliers
A range of upmarket chandeliers aimed at top hotels and restaurants are being made from the laughing gas canisters discarded by teenagers.
London firm Diplomat Design collects the distinctive nitrous oxide (N2O) cylinders from the streets of the capital and uses them to create luminaires with pristine mirror finish jewels.
Nitrous oxide – called ‘laughing gas’ because it has a euphoric effect when inhaled and is popular with teenagers – is set to be banned by the UK government.
Traditionally part of the catering industry, they are a common sight scattered across urban parks, gutters and pavements outside nightclubs.
‘I’ve been seeing these canisters littering the streets as I cycle around London and thought it was an incredible waste of a beautifully engineered single-use component,’ says Matthew Kavanagh of Diplomat Design. ‘Then the suggestion of a chandelier came from fellow designer Rupert Matthews’. The leading model in the range is the Nos Sphere 228 chandelier, whose 228 recycled canisters are machined, threaded, polished and assembled by hand. This beautiful object is then given a second life in a chandelier of dancing light. At a glance, the effect is a cloud of silver, but on closer inspection one can see fine scratches or surface blemishes; subtle evidence of their recycled origins and a textural fingerprint.
A single narrow-focus recessed LED spotlight was chosen to illuminate the chandelier providing some drama and ensuring a dappled silhouette below it, magnifying any subtle movement.
Diplomat is the creative partnership of Kavanagh and Ashley Hall. The company first came to prominence with the ‘Micro Furniture’ range exhibited at 100% Design in 1999. Diplomat continue to develop products alongside consultancy projects in the USA, Australia, The Netherlands and the UK. Their work comprises strong components of innovation thinking and exploration of systems, material and form, including lighting and furniture.
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