Life Home & Garden

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Objects of desire: Turning old airplane parts into pendant lights

Designer Shane Holland re-purposes old airplane parts - among other things - into surprisingly lovely pendant lights, writes Roisin Murphy

Cruise Aviation lights, from €180;
Cruise Aviation lights, from €180;
Shane Holland. Photo: John Howard

Roisin Murphy

Making a house, if you're lucky, involves buying all sorts of randomly adult things with appropriately grown-up functions, like settees, tables, beds, lawn mowers. Some of us call in architects, designers and builders but many of us buy a house in an estate, or on a street, with exactly the same type of house next door. That means many of the fixtures we have no choice over - stairs, doors, the now hip again avocado bathroom suite. They all come with the house, no returns.

Ceiling lights usually come as a fixture with a new house. A dangling wire that hangs from your ceiling hoping for a fine lampshade. Recessed lighting was all the rage for a while - but nowadays pendants are definitely a thing. They hang at fantastically dangerous lengths and with all sorts of bulbous endings or draped artfully with several strings attached. So, lighting designers are suddenly on everyone's radar. And one Irish studio stands out - Shane Holland Design.

Shane graduated from NCAD in 1989 and turned to lighting when he was presented with a Russian hoover in 1991, and transformed it into a light. (The hoover/light was subsequently destroyed on stage by the lead singer of Whipping Boy in the now defunct music venue McGonagles. Such were the 1990s in Dublin.)

When Shane talks about his work he peppers it with anecdotes of Dublin and musicians, and how studio space and low rents meant they could be artisans in the city of the 1990s. They had space and plenty of it, to "make".

Along with so many other artisans, artists and designers, he eventually had to leave his basement studio to make way for an apartment development that never happened.

His old studio is still vacant in the north inner city. And Shane now lives and works in Meath.

But he forged an opportunity out of the move. And the move brought some unexpected bonuses. He has met people involved in recycling, amongst other things, airplane parts.

One morning he arrived at the workshop to find what looked like orange bombs at the door. It was a consignment of un-recyclable parts of a Boeing engine. Pressure canisters made using materials such as Kevlar and fibreglass-coated aluminium.

The distinctive capsules or "bomb" shaped pendants have the markings of the original manufacturer from California on them including letters that are die-cast, the equivalent of the maker's fingerprint or signature.As Shane says: "Objects come your way - you have to act on them."

He repurposed them into strong, bold pendants that not only function beautifully, but look superb. These 'Cruise Aviation' pendants are cool and beautiful and, as with all of Shane's work, give spice to an interior.

Sunday Independent

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