Everyone in our industry seems to be doing computer graphics these days but we still love the hands-on messiness of model making. Our origins are in Stage Design and we've modeled anything & everything for theatre, TV and pop videos; from life-size models of Ian Paisley & Madness through to alien intestines & robotic dancing legs.
Our love for lamps came when we were asked to make a model of a bull terrier called Onion that could be turned into a plastic lamp. Making models was natural to us but we weren’t so sure about the lamp part until we met Heico, a small family run firm in Northern Bavaria. They have a wonderful process, part hi-tech, part old-fashioned that makes seamless lamps (so you don’t see any joins when they’re lit up). They know how to make them cheaply but still in small numbers which really suits us as we much prefer to make unusual lamps than mass produce them.
It all began with Onion. She's a celebrity dog & a much loved pet that belongs to friends of Myra's nephew Dom. Her owners had seen some lamps in a Soho shop window and wanted someone to make one of Onion. We modelled her one lazy Sunday afternoon, packed the model off to Heico for processing and a few weeks later (and a little to our surprise) she was a hit selling in Liberty and other, equally trendy, stores across London.
Diego the Schnauzer
Diego is a schnauzer that we regularly see walking in East London's Victoria Park. Unfortunately we couldn't get him I'm the studio so he was made from memory plus the odd google for schnauzer pics. To be honest, Diego isn't really his name as we haven't been able to contact his owner so if you do know who Diego's really is then please get in touch.
Archie is a whippet that belongs to friends of friends. Like Onion he’s also a bit celeb because he's been filmed by the Beeb at a gay pride march wearing a pink tutu. Like most whippets, once he's had his 10 minutes of madness each day, he's happy to settle down making him an ideal subject for a sitting in our studio.
Blake the Tiger Cub
Blake was an idea that started in a school playground in Dalston. Myra, our artist, was chatting with Sophie Darlington a photographer for 21st Century Tiger, a charity based at London Zoo. The charity works hard to protect the few remaining tigers in the wild. Sophie asked if we could make a tiger cub model that could raise funds and so Blake was born.
Radish the French Bulldog
The original Radish was a French Bulldog owned, again, by friends of ours. We’d always planned on getting Radish into the studio for a sitting but somehow it never seemed to happen. So we Googled and our Radish is a bit of a mongrel made from some great images we found there.
We use either clay or modelling wax to make the initial model. This first model is too soft for Heico’s copper mould making process so when we’re happy with it we make a much harder one by covering our soft model in silicon rubber, peeling it off and filling the resulting rubber mould with dense pouring wax.
Each lamp is made by hand
The pouring wax model is sent to Bavaria where it’s immersed in a nickel then copper electrolytic bath. The wax is melted out of the copper mould and work begins. Each lamp is made by hand, spinning hot polypropylene inside the mould then removing it before it hardens & pumping it back into shape before it cools.