Recycling is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, but the process itself can sometimes have some negative impact. There’s still a lot of energy and water involved in converting materials into something usable again, and there’s also some loss when the original design gets destroyed in the process. Upcycling is a more efficient and time-saving alternative, but not everything can be upcycled and not everything that can be upcycled can be used in newer and better ways. Sometimes, it takes a bit more creative thinking to transform one thing into a completely different thing, like how factory seconds from skateboard manufacturers are turned into these understated yet elegant wall lamps.
Designers: Michael and Mariel Upton
Skateboards are objects that bring up images of speed, tricks, and devilish stunts. They’re hardly associated with warmth, subtlety, or even light. Of course, these associations aren’t inherent in the shape of the skateboard’s wooden deck, which makes them open for reuse and reinterpretation, as the case of this trio of wall lamps demonstrates, providing stylish lighting that hardly gives a clue to their origins.
Considering the long oval shapes of skateboard decks, not to mention their upward curved ends, you definitely wouldn’t be able to guess that these wall lights are exactly made from those wooden parts. That’s because these pieces of 7-ply maple wood are taken from factory rejects, decks that obviously didn’t make the cut. Since the shapes of these boards are too specific for general use, they often end up simply being discarded. They’re thankfully made from wood, so they’re biodegradable and have fewer harmful effects on the environment, but they’re still waste and, more importantly, wasted opportunity.
Upton thankfully has the wonderful idea of using those boards to provide ambient lighting as well as a piece of minimalist wall art. The discarded decks are cut to create a shorter and straighter oval shape and then paired with lighting hardware on the back. Each of the three variants, namely, Heru, Cuna, and Mara, get a square piece of original art that becomes the visual center of the entire fixture. With this, even if the light is off, the designs act as decorative pieces that enhance a room’s ambiance in a subtle way.
When the light is on, however, you get a warm ambient halo of light that sets a calming and relaxing mood in any space. The light is emitted from the back and is reflected on the mounting surface, making it look softer and avoiding painful glare when you look in its direction. The wall lamp projects a character of calm and warmth, definitely not something you’d expect from a speedster skateboard that it would have become in some other lifetime.