Finally, after going through a very long process of trial and error the final phase of the luminaire project has been completed. In this phase was the light fixture itself. Through this fixture we had to capture the original light phenomenon that we found in PHASE I. My phenomenon was light shinning through the doors on the Weatherspoon Art Museum and reflecting everything that was above the floor into the floor. This caused the illusion of two "identical" worlds. Although there were slight variations between them. In our luminaires we were to capture the essence of what was going on in the phenomenon without actually recreating the event in literal terms. This proved to be the most trying of the three phases due to the fact that it is the first time that we had to design something from an original inspiration.
Beginning this phase was a trial in itself. I had the phenomenon, but designing a light pattern that would get my idea across was not an easy task. In the beginning I did a lot of thinking of what kind of materials to use because I was not ready to take on the actual light task. My first idea was to use metal because I felt that it was a reflective material and that would help me get my idea across very easily. The idea was to melt down metal sheets and mold them into a bowl. After this the light would be placed in the back and would shine around it. However the bowl would not be seen in the dark so the reflective quality would be nonexistent, and the light effect would not tell the my story in any way, shape, or form.
Next I moved on to exploration of paper to use in my design. I started by using thick poster board to create my shape and I still wanted to incorporate something reflective so I came to the decision to use metallic spray paints on the sides of it. Also, in order to get the light to shine through I created a cut out on one of the sides and covered it with trash paper so that the light bulb would not be showing. Through more thought I decided to change this 3 sided figure into a four sided one and make cut outs on two opposite sides. However, after looking at the creation and thinking more on my light effect I decided to completely scratch that idea before I wasted anymore time on something that did not speak to me.
After that failure I decided to take time to actually think about the light effect that I wanted to achieve, and once I figured this out I began to design a figure around it that would allow that effect to come across nicely.
I came to the conclusion that wood was definitely the way to go. I started by using 1/8 in thick pieces of wood to cut a figure with a square front and that would be in the shape of a rectangular prism. However, before I ever finished cutting the pieces I realized something very important. Piecing wood together that was so thin and flimsy would not work out very well in my favor. Therefore I was off to get thicker wood and come up with new dimensions for my design.
My new dimensions elongated the shape and gave the light more room to dim before it escaped to what our eyes can see. It also left the sides open, which was in the previous design as well, and added a central cut out, which was not.Once I had everything planned, getting it cut out was quick and painless. But next came to obstacle of deciding if I wanted to keep it plain or add some color to it. I decided color was the best decision. More specifically, stain. I went with a mahogany stain because it was very elegant in the light, but would disappear when light was no longer present. When staining the wood I decided to use lacquer over the stain because it leaves a glossy finish and makes that layer of the wood highly durable. I chose to use two different color lights in order to accentuate the change in between the two worlds I was trying to get across, and instead of using a mirror in front of a central cut out I chose to go with a piece of vellum. This allowed the inside of the luminaire to be hidden and also allowed for a central area to show the change from one color to the other. Vellum was also placed on the the sides to cover up the bulbs so that it would not be blinding to look at from any angle.
Next I had to come up with a way to cover the part of the vellum that was attached to the wood with Elmer's glue because it was not very attractive. Electric tape was used for this because it was black and would flow with the mahogany stain of the wood. I added this black around the inside of the central cutout as well in order give it more repetition so that it did not appear as something I just did.
Finally I added two legs to the bottom that elevated it the slightly off the surface to give even more stability and also give it the idea that it was floating, which made it more intriguing.