My girlfriend and I wanted something original for our living room lighting; enlighten our house with energy saving bulbs is really hard, roof and parquet are dark and low consumption lights aren’t as effective as halogen counterparts. So instead of one powerful light source we’re disseminating low power lights everywhere. We like industrial looking furniture, simple colors (black, white, gray, wood) and materials (wood again, brushed metal, slate). In a corner of our living room already had black and white, wood and stone, so we decided to use some Upplid outdoor lamps: they have that galvanised look that integrates really well with other parts of our home, are fairly cheap and can host E27 light bulbs.
Placing lamps where you don’t have a power line means you have to bring it there, inside or outside the wall. Inside the wall is a pain, outside is ugly.. so why not connect all those lamps with cast iron water pipes? They have the same surface treatment as Upplid lamps and can hide cables very well! This idea comes from an installation named Pipe Light (more info here http://goo.gl/Fo2e1) we found over the internet.
We did a trip to a local hardware supplier, photographing every piece of pipe, joint and elbow available. Paola made a scale drawing of our walls and there we started to draw lines, socket to lamps, trying to fit their length within the measures we annotated at the hardware shop. In the end we choose a shape not too complex that reminds a tree, with “roots” placed just above a plug socket.
We made a list of all the pieces we needed and went back to the hardware store to shop for material. We then spent a couple of hours removing labels, cleaning glue and oiling surfaces: that was probably the most annoying part of the project. Meanwhile, we enrolled a friend who helped us finishing the work before the end of the weekend. Assembling the four lines, one for each lamp, was a breeze: we did this two times, the first one to calibrate the lines on the shape of our walls (you can’t be sure about the effective lenght of a trait until you screw all the parts, pipes threads are very rough) and the second to carefully pump electric cables into the pipes, trying not to peel them. Next step was to hang the lines against the wall using pipe collars, and that was fairly easy too. Finally we placed the lamps onto the wall, hooked electricity switches and bulbs.. and then there was light!
All images above and the project itself are released under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license