How to Turn Abandoned Bicycles Into Hanging Lamps
Credit: Trevor Tondro for The New York Times
A delightful article “Seeing Noguchi in a Bike” from the NYT’s traced the creative path from one friend’s inspiration from a art show to creating an homage to one of the twentieth century’s most inspired artists in the quietly rusting carcasses of abandoned bicycles in the city. It’s a fun read and an even more fun project to do yourself. Though they stick to a super simple aesthetic – it seems to also be a great starting basis for re-creating something magical in your own unique way to compliment your unique space.
Andrew Wagner, the director of Krrb.com and the former editor of the now-defunct ReadyMade magazine, and Jen Turner, an architect and designer, used the rims of two abandoned bicycle wheels, one slightly larger than the other, to create a hanging lamp reminiscent of Isamu Noguchi’s classic Akari pendant lights.
The two scoured the streets for spare parts — abandoned bikes with a patina of rust, a missing seat or handlebars, flat tires or mangled rims.
First, gather a few materials, including bicycle wheels, ribbon and translucent, nonflammable fabric like ripstop nylon, often used as parachute fabric.
Ripstop, comes in all kinds of beautiful colors, too. It’s ideal, but a similar Rayon fabric could also work. The fabric selection is where you can use the basic framework of this project as a springboard to change it up with a different color, texture or even a print (careful!) Make sure that the ribbon and the fabric you choose look good together.
Remove the spokes from the wheels. Fit one rim inside the other and attach through the spoke holes using a screw, nut and washer. It’s also a good idea to give things a cleaning – to remove any rust or grime that might degrade the lamp over time or mess up the fabric.
Thread the lamp cord through the opposite set of holes, holding it in place with a clamp. An old lamp socket and cord would work beautifully, though you can find something similar at any lighting store. With at least 20 feet of cord, the lamp can be adapted to virtually any setup.
String the ribbon through the holes, like a shoelace, to create each face of the pendant. You could also use sliced, discarded bike tubes.
Stretch and measure the fabric to fit each side.