We were asked to walk from Ladbroke Grove to Chiswick in West London. On the journey, I remembered that most interesting things around London were seen by looking up, mainly at the beautiful architecture. I thought how about looking at the ground and focussed my journey on looking at drain designs.
Throughout my walk, I discovered repetitive drain designs mostly by utility companies, still the design were pretty interesting.
Until I walked to Holland Park where I found cast iron plates in the pavement. I was quite intrigued by the designs. In image below was the first cast iron plate I came across.
Nearing the end of my journey, in Chiswick, a row of houses backing onto the River Thames, I discovered all the houses had these cast iron plates in the pavements. All different designs by different manufacturers.
The design reminded me of something I saw in Creative Review, buy I couldn’t quiet put my finger on it. I did some research and rediscovered the book an artist had made in Creative Review. Unfortunately, the link to the complete works is broken, so below are some screenshots of what the artist made. The artist took rubbings of drains covers and created a book from screen printing.
When I did further research I found out that these cast iron round plates in the pavement were coal hole covers. They were used to cover the chute where the coal was deposited in the cellar of the houses. They were commonly used from 1860’s in many large town buildings, but with the introduction of the Clean Air Act in 1956 in London they became obsolete in Britain.
The designs still appear very strong due to being casted in iron, but over hundred years of footfall some of the design has worn away.
Whilst these designs are interesting, I took my sometime to think about how to use the design. I mocked up some drains in different colours to test.
Moving onto a wallpaper design perhaps it could be used in an industrial design office or a bathroom. I thought about some environmental awareness posters, but I couldn’t quite match a message I really wanted.
As much as I liked the designs on the drains, I realised I picked quiet a difficult subject to progress with. After some thought, I decided to create a 70cm diameter lampshade from a chosen coal hole design cover, to work the pattern of the coal hole cover around the shade.
Once I traced the design I scanned into Photoshop then Illustrator to clean up ready for it to be inserted into the main artwork as a patterned design.
In illustrator ready for laser cutting.
total dimensions 225 x 30cm for a 70cm diameter lampshade
cut into 4 sections to print on A2
3 x 59cm by 30cm
1 x 48cm by 30cm
Laser cut print ready for assembly.
the end joins – not completely perfect due to errors with the laser cutter
example of a middle section
Start of assembly, rounded into position, rolling the two rings at the same time following inserting the diffuser. The diffuser was slightly bigger than the ring, which I found strange as I purchased it from the same company as the lampshade kit. This made the artwork slightly bulged.
Unfortunately, I have all fitted light fittings, so I was unable to actually fit the lampshade to a standard light fitting. I used cord and hung it from the a large light fitting and used battery powered lights to eliminate the light.
As mentioned above the diffuser is slightly larger than the ring, so it didn’t sit perfectly in the lamp shade ring.