Keith Costa
Industrial Designer
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About

Stickbulb is a high end lighting design company headquartered in Long Island City, New York. They use reclaimed and sustainable materials to create unique lighting fixtures. In the winter of 2017-2018, I worked with them to create their trade booth installation at Collective Design 2018 in which they would be unveiling their new fixtures called "Bough." The installation was to be called "Fire and Ice."

 
 
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Fire and Ice

The name "Fire and Ice" comes from the building fire on which the installation is based on. In 2013, the Pullman Couch Facory caught fire, and required a third of the Chicago Fire Department to extinguish. Due to the sub-zero temperatures on the night of the fire, the water from the hoses froze over the smoldering wreckage, creating a hauntingly beautiful dichotomy.

The installation featured stickbulbs (reclaimed Heart Pine housings around LED lights) that are crafted from the wreckage of the Pullman Couch Factory, and even features two enormous wooden beams that were used in the construction of the factory. Tying it all together is the limited edition image that hangs in the back of the frozen remains of the factory, still smoldering from the blaze.

 
 

Development

 

CAD Modelling

When I came into the process, Stickbulb had already been experimenting with their new connector and new fixtures. Having the 3D Models handy, I used CAD to mock up over 80 different compositions within the space they were allotted at Collective Design 2018. I also began to include signage, images and stages. The pieces that tied the whole story together however was a large image of the Pullman Textile Factory and two enormous beams in the center.

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Physical Models

From there, we moved onto 1:4.45 scale models using cardboard and 3D printed fixtures to form the scale lights. This is where we began to truly understand the benefits and limitations of the space that would result in us narrowing our focus to more minimal and elegant compositions. This design wouldn't have been successful if it was fully created in an unrealistic, computer generated vacuum. This is why the more practical dialogue that came with a physical model was not only helpful, but imperative.

 
 
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When the team came to a point of reasonable agreement on the composition, we moved on to a proof of concept full scale mock up. We used discarded and damaged inventory to create full scale versions of the two massive fixtures that were going to on display at Collective Design 2018. With this model, we were able to fully understand the scale and also work out technical aspects such as hanging, wiring and powering. We also received the large-scale SEG print of the gorgeous photo and the giant beams (which were as heavy as they looked).

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Construction

After everything was decided on based on the CAD and physical models, the last thing to do was to build it for real. Using MDF and wood, we physically fabricated a stage, a backdrop, and a canopy to hold the fixtures. We created these pieces offsite and, the day before the unveiling, assembled them at the convention center.

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Fire and Ice

 
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Fire and Ice is the dichotomy of elements. The white connectors on the installation contrast with the fiery Heart Pine bulbs, echoing the colors and feelings of the image behind them. From the picture to the lights, "Fire and Ice" tells the story about how from the wreckage of the Pullman Couch Factory, the materials reclaimed were used to form objects that would bring light into peoples lives.

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