December 5, 2017

Chiaroscuro Studio – The City Lantern

The City Lantern


Chiaroscuro City Studio is an exploration into the light and the dark elements that define architectural interventions. By beginning with the study of light through a lamp fixture, the studio is able to realize a finished product and the way it relays light on its subject. In this series of studies, light and shadow have equal emphasis. The study of this scale of project allows the details to be celebrated and to relay the intent of the concept. The first light is conceived as a concept of “Making Light” by the deployment of frame and skin or fold and panel. The second light is a separate study focused on “Casting Shadow” through the use of form and cast. The program of the light is a self-standing table lamp that fits within given dimensions. The light needs to be able to turn on and off by an implemented switch. Finally, the apparatus should not be able to catch on fire!


Making Light


The skin and bones lamps followed a series of material studies to convey light in different strategic manners. The different materials studied illuminated surfaces, diffused light, shielded light, and even blocked it out entirely according to concept vision. This light is constructed only using two materials and additional fasteners.

“This lamp utilizes plywood and digital technologies to achieve its form. The final form of the lamp accommodates diffused light towards a playful area and direct light towards an area of work. The driving force was inspired by the undulating forms of a blossom dress.”

– Veronica Leanos

“This exploration focused on learning to occupy a corner with light. This lamp utilizes wood and a found translucent material. As this light developed with the inclusion of one material and the dematerialization of another, it revealed itself in the final geometry as two slipped and locking frames courting a light box.” – Gaura Ely


“This lamp discovered its form through an iterative process exploring paper and string’s latent strengths and abilities. It uses threading, folding, and bending to transform three tapered paper panels into a light fixture that directs, projects, and diffuses light – while standing on its own three feet.” – Ryan Salas




“This concept initiated by studying the ethereality of light, what it exposes, and what is has the ability to distort. By implementing a kit of parts that is completely de-constructable, this concept embraces entropy and hands the form over to the user. Different opacities and textures of the material allow light to be illuminated, warped, colored, or shielded depending on user preference and need.”

– Lauren Wabiszewski


“This lamp is about the two sides of the city of Seattle. The lamp is made up of two layers, the first layer is trying to represent the brightness of the city which is the exterior of the lamp. The second layer is inside the lamp, you can not really see it unless turning the light on. The pattern inside different lamps are trying to find the unique elements from the city of Seattle.” – Yang Su


Casting Shadow


This material study focused on a casting material and the different strategies possible for creating the forming mechanism. Though the finished product is comprised of a final pour of the material, the majority of time spent goes into studying how the formwork will be built, predicting how the formwork will function with the addition of the material, and – just as importantly – how it will come apart. This lamp was to be made out of no more than two materials, including the casting material.


This project had the studio take on a different atmosphere. The feeling of craft and experimentation was apparent with the number of models and form work pieces accumulating around the studio. Because casting can be an unpredictable modeling strategy, each lamp concept had to be molded and poured prior to review in order to ensure the concrete or plaster models would hold their structure and not shatter.



“The concept of this light fixture is to portray lightness through casting. Designing this light was a process of experimenting with various textures through casting, and washing light over those surfaces to highlight the depth and consistency. As an emphasis on the texture and lighting flow, a minimal control was applied to shaping the cast. Instead, the plaster was allowed to naturally flow and shape the light fixture. The final chosen texture depended on the thinnest cast achieved by the different molds. To highlight the lightness of this fixture, and allow a formal light spread, the cast was lifted by a minimal thin metal structure.” – Lama Al-Sharif


“This process experimented with the idea of casting a form from the inside of an inflated balloon. Trying to cast a shape of a lamp inside a balloon turned out to be largely about the process of curing and understanding that continuous movement of the concrete material was necessary in order to produce a thin concrete shell. Many iterations were necessary in order to achieve a finished product with the desired level of finish. The slight difference in thickness of the concrete shell exhibits the process of casting as the light perforates through. The light also shines down on the base, that’s shape enhances the light in another manner.”  – Julia Moore



“This lamp took on an experimental concept of using ice as a formwork medium. Using ice to create perforations in an otherwise rigid, geometrical formwork left the final form of the lamp up to the settling and melting of the ice pieces. Understanding the timing of the concrete settling and the ice melting was important to the resulting form. Organic shapes that are produced by the ice melting and the openings that result interact with the smooth surfaces that are produced by the formwork. The voids relay the light housed on the inside of the volume to the outside in a gradient of light that is captured in the resultant forms.” – Lauren Wabiszewski


“The second lamp was driven by finding rhythm in organically-influenced casting. Imprinting with the nature of flower petals lead to exploring the nature of chance and to the nature of operable control. This lamp houses its light with four spines, each comprised of rotatable petals, hinging on occupant use.” – Gaura Ely


“By utilizing donated textiles and unwanted materials, this lamp explores transforming waste into new form-work methods for casting concrete. The fabric formwork allows the concrete to self arrange causing both materials find their own geometry under its physical force. Exploring this form-work method avoided having to create a standard rigid mold that would have taken longer and used more materials to produce.”

– Veronica Leanos


Museum of Ladders


The Museum of Ladders, sited in Pioneer Square, is the culmination of the studio projects. This is an ongoing project that started out by placing the lamps in the site model. By scaling up the lamps to the size of a building, the museum’s initial move is to act as a lantern to both the street and the alley as well as to the city as a whole. In the following weeks the students will produce a realized museum design that will display a variety of ladder exhibits. The concept of the lamps will be utilized in order to create a lighted and inclusive public space for the neighborhood.