Posted on Mo 27 November 2006

Chasing A Light

Last friday I posted a little Lazyweb experiment, a hunt for information about a certain kind of lamp sold by a street dealer in Mexico City. A quick followup on the results:

Surprinsingly many people responded, mostly by email, and partly by blog comment. As it appears I am not the only one who's looking for this specific type of lamp. Furthermore, a non-trivial set of Planet Gnome readers actually already owns one of these devices. Apparently counterfeit versions of this lamp are sold all around the world by street dealers and on markets.

The lamp seems to be a modified version of the "IQ Light", a self assembly lighting system made up of interlocking quadrilaterals. It is a scandinavian design, by Holger Strøm, 1973. It is nowadays exclusively distributed by Bald & Bang, Denmark. The lighting system has a very interesting web site of its own, which even includes an HOWTO for assembling these lamps. The Bald & Bang web site has a very stylish video which also shows how to assemble an IQ lamp.

Fake IQ Light from Mexico

While my mexican specimen and the official design are very similar, they differ: the mexican design looks - in a way - "tighter" and ... better (at least in my humble opinion). For comparison, please have a look on the photo I took from the mexican version which is shown above, and on the many photos returned by Google Images, or the one from the IQ Light homepage. It appears as if the basic geometrical form used by the mexican design is somehow more narrow than the official danish one.

So, where can one buy one of those lamps? Fake and real ones are sold on eBay, every now an then. The Museum Store of the New York MoMA sells the original version for super-cheap $160. If you search with Google you'll find many more offers like this one, but all of them are not exactly cheap - for a bunch of thin plastic sheets. All these shops sell the danish version of the design, noone was able to point me to a shop where the modified, "mexican" version is sold.

Given the hefty price tag and the fact that the fake, mexican version looks better then the original one, I will now build my own lamps, based on the mexican design. For that I will disassamble my specimen (at least partially) and create a paper stencil of the basic plastic pattern. I hope to put this up for download as a .ps file some time next week, since many people asked for instructions for building these lamps. Presumably the original design is protected by copyright, hence I will not publish a step-by-step guide how to build your own fake version. But thankfully this is not even necessary, since the vendor already published a HOWTO and a video for this, online.

Thank you very much for your numerous responses!

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