David Irwin gives 19th century mining lamps a modern edge
British designer David Irwin and Brooklyn-based manufacturer Juniper joined forces back in 2011 on the ‘M Lamp’, a piece inspired by 19th century mining lamps. They have since launched newer, more versatile versions, giving the historical model a new lease of life.
Irwin’s portfolio includes seating for Case Furniture, and wooden bookcases and tables for Heal’s. It is his well-rounded design expertise that informed this inaugural lighting project.
The Newcastle-based designer was inspired by the ‘Geordie’, ‘Davy’ and carbide acetylene gas lamp models invented between 1815 and the 1890s, which were used to light up buildings and as headlights for cars and bikes. A portable version of these lamps was used for mining in the 20th century. The M Lamp’s design pays homage to these utilitarian tools, reconstituting them as tools for modern life.
The latest version, dubbed ‘M2’, features a movable lamp head, integrated rechargeable battery (which can last up to 2,000 charge cycles and 60 hours per charge) and sleek, refined lines. The lamp is made from powder-coated high-grade aluminium available in five colour options including orange, white and matte black. Two metallic versions in polished copper and polished chrome reference the original designs, while the lamp itself boasts environmentally friendly credentials due to its low energy consumption and recyclable material.
‘Over time, even the greatest tools and technologies give way to a new generation of invention,’ explains Juniper founder Shant Marjarian. ‘But they continue to live on as icons of our collective memory and through their influence on human progress.’