‘loofah lamp’ by fernando laposse
lamp detail made from maple, white cement, marble dust cold LED bulbs, loofah which is trated with teflon frame retardant spray
for a self-directed project during his studies at central saint martins, university of the arts, london, fernando laposse conducted
extensive research on the qualities of loofah, trying to control it to the point that it can be incorporated into functional objects.
we all generally relate loofahs with scrubbing and bathing, however, laposse wanted to try and change our association with the material
beyond the bathroom, introducing it to other applications, so that it could been seen as serving useful throughout the rest of the house.
the edible fruit grows from a vine and is related to pumpkins and cucumbers, with up to 8000 produced per hectare;
when guided vertically, they take up less space. loofah attaches itself to trees and once it matures it is dried and harvested –
a process which takes only 6 months – using little nutrients from the soil and leaving no roots, which makes it a very sustainable option
in comparison to wood and cork.
the lamp has a base made from cast white concrete and marble dust
laposse worked closely with a local carpenter in mexico city for the development of the project whereby he has developed
a room divider, lamp, coffee table, hot chocolate set and planters which utilize the plant sponge in their construction.
each of these individual designs exploits one or more of the natural material’s characteristics – heat insulation, lightness, shock absorption,
texture, translucency etc.
for his ‘lufa’ collection, the mexican designer has cut the medium in a variety of ways, in which he flattens, moulds or sews portions
of the dried plant matter into desired forms, combining them with more industrial materials such as cement and wood,
as well as terracotta, manipulating the clay and fibrous matter by hand himself for the different pieces he has created. here,
the appearance of the works make the loofah the point of interest rather than the product itself.
coffee table with built in magazine compartment
detail of the layered pieces of loofah
maple, polyester colored thread
left: demonstrating that the room dividers are lightweight, a main property of the loofah material
right: detail of the hinge mechanism, made from the same string that attaches the loofah to the wooden frame
displaying the translucency of the loofah and its ability to filter light
the planters act as if they are a continuation of the foliage within
hot chocolate set
terracotta, waterproofed cement
left: traditional mexican wooden whisk for foaming hot chocolate
right: the loofah acts as an insulator, eliminating the use of a handle on the inner terracotta vases which can be removed for washing
loofah ready to be transformed!
cutting open the long, cylindrical formations of loofah
sewing and binding the room dividers together, all done by hand by the designer himself
production of the terracotta vases which laplosee makes himself in his studio