Maker: RLB + BAR Architects & Interiors
Our lamp ‘Inner Peace’ invites you to slow down, pause and reflect, and go inward. It is intended as a visual reminder to connect with oneself, to find calm, and quiet in a world of seemingly constant stimulation and distraction. In recent years, the importance of inward reflection and the power of an undisturbed mind has garnered new emphasis.
‘Inner peace’ is here to remind us that only if we look within and make time for self-reflection are we able to return to our community with equanimity, a centered state, projecting ‘inner peace’ or our ‘light within’ outward.
Origins & Materials
On our journey to sourcing the building elements for our creation we kept in mind this year’s Chairity theme “Peace, Love, and Chairity” as well as the inherent sustainability theme of each year’s Chairity fundraiser. An antique foot stove caught our eye in a little vintage shop in Sonoma County, CA.
We learned that in the early 18th century foot stoves or foot warmers were used in typically poorly heated public spaces, private homes, even carriages, and trains to keep feet warm during the cold winter months. These foot stoves were particularly common in Northern Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries to add supplemental heat.
For the base, our team was looking for a wood that would be a visual continuation of the antique patina of the tin box. We kept the design of the base intentionally simple as the goal was to slightly elevate the light box and keep the focus on it. Our team was able to source beautiful, durable old growth redwood donated by Napa-based design firm Vonsaal Design Build.
The wood we used is from a redwood tree that was over a thousand years old. Old growth redwood trees grow slowly due to the density of the forest and less exposure to sunlight. Therefore, old growth redwood has tighter growth rings, is often darker, and much denser than new growth redwood which has more exposure to sunlight, thus grows faster, and isn’t as burly.
After extensive logging from the 1850’s to the 1980s, old-growth redwood is scarce. With the logging of these ancient trees now banned, this material is rare and sought-after among woodworkers and is appreciated for its durability and unique grain and patterns. Originally the building material for an old dairy barn in Petaluma, Sonoma County, we were excited to be able to repurpose this beautiful wood, work with such precious material, and give it new life.
Design & Process
In creative design sessions at BAR Architects & Interiors new office space on 77 Geary in San Francisco, Team BAR and RLB worked on the design from concept to completion. The wooden base was built in a small, private wood shop in the Napa Valley, owned by a carpenter who helped build a private home designed by Howard Backen, one of the original founders of BAR Architects & Interiors. To make space for the light fixture we cut a hole into the bottom of the tin box to insert it and affixed it with matching screws.
As we studied the antique foot stove closer, we discovered peace signs and little hearts within the punched-out designs. These pierced apertures allowed for the warmth of the coal embers placed in a little tray inside the metal box, to emanate. To create a connection between its use 200 years ago and today, we felt turning it into a lamp couldn’t be more perfect. Instead of the warm temperature it emitted originally it now radiates a warm light.
To bring out the ‘hidden’ peace signs we thought about how to cover certain parts of the punched-out designs and found that acrylic plates would make for the perfect material. We transferred the design and sizing and etched the parts where we wanted the light to diffuse. We then laser-cut the rectangles and affixed them to fit each side of the lamp exactly. All but one side of the lamp now projects a warm glowing peace sign onto adjacent surfaces, including the top.
We took design cues for ‘Inner Peace’ from the mid-century modern era with a particular emphasis on a simple, organic, and timeless aesthetic.
‘Inner Peace’ is equally suitable for a quite meditation space as it is on a side table next to a cozy chair in your home or a mountain cabin.
In daylight the piece appears subtle, with warm earth tones. The uneven patina of the metal and the intricate and arbitrary grain striations of the old growth redwood lend the piece an overall organic feel and underline its immanent tranquility.