Designers are giving lampshades an avant-garde makeover. With versions made of pierced disposable plastic spoons and polka-dot and punched polypropylene - there's even one that knits itself before you go to sleep - it seems as if there's no end to ideas when it comes to transforming the lampshade into a highly decorative conversation piece.
London-based designer Daisuke Hiraiwa (www.gdotplus.com) debuted two whimsical lampshades last year; his Stamen piece is made from 12,500 toothpicks while Petals is essentially plastic spoons punctured by a solder- ing iron. Both are designed to give off a soft glow.
Polish designer Agnieszka Lasota (agnieszka-lasota.pl) took inspiration from native folklore to create the Wreath Project lamp: 130 metres of silk ribbon tied into 120 knots around a wire spiral construction.
Italian brand Kartell (kartell.it) recently unveiled its Tati lamp (above right), made of transparent polycarbonate in opaline or black. When it's off, it looks like a functional, everyday lampshade. Switched on, the surface gives off a light of adjustable intensity that illuminates the entire piece.
Artemide's (artemide.us) Edge 30 Suspension is a futuristic cube lampshade that hangs from the ceiling. Created by Alessandro Mendini, the piece filters fluorescent lighting - that scourge of any home environment - through a polypropylene diffuser to produce a soft and subtle light.
Polypropylene appears to be in vogue among lampshade design- ers. British duo Arash and Kelly (arashandkelly.com) in 2008 re- leased their ZiPP lightshade, so named because the way in which the flower-shaped shade is 'zipped' determines its shape, so its appear- ance is changeable. Late last year, the company introduced a special-edition ZiPP, this time in multicolour- ed polka dots, which was auctioned for charity.
And, just for fun, there's the Sleeping Beauty lampshade (above left) by Dutch designer Nadine Sterk (ateliernl.com). Inspired by living organisms, the lamp 'grows' when it's turned on. A ball of yarn attached to a machine rotates to 'knit' the lampshade, stopping only when the switch is turned off.