See how this plain acrylic sheet is transformed into a twisted, one-of-a-kind lamp

See how this plain acrylic sheet is transformed into a twisted, one-of-a-kind lamp

If you visited the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last weekend, you might have seen some lights being built from scratch. The team behind Toronto design firm Partisans were at the Interior Design Show to show off Gweilo, their new, innovative, totally-unlike-anything-you’ve-seen-before lamp. It took Alex Josephson and the Partisans team more than four years to perfect Gweilo, which is as much a sculpture at it is a light source. In case you missed it, here’s a play-by-play of how the lamps are made:

First, the Partisans team etches a sheet of acrylic with a tiny grid. This allows light, the source of which will eventually be affixed to the base of the acrylic sheet, to travel upwards and diffuse throughout the sheet, in effect transforming the sheet itself into a lamp:


Next, the sheet is laid flat and clamped into place:


It’s then suspended in front of a wall of propane heaters, making it hot and malleable, which gets it ready to be sculpted into shape by the Partisans team:


Once the acrylic is hot enough to be bendable, it’s removed from its casing (very carefully, and with giant heat-proof gloves):


After the sheet is pulled away from the heat source, the Partisans team makes quick work of moulding it into shape before the acrylic cools and hardens. Here’s Josephson at work on a lamp:


Josephson says the amount of manipulation that takes place at this point is substantive, but even still, the Partisans team never has complete control over the sheet of acrylic, so no two Gweilo lamps will ever be identical:


How many people end up handling the sheet after it’s heated depends on the size of the sheet itself:


After the sheet of acrylic is shaped to the team’s satisfaction, it’s moved to an area with high airflow to cool completely, and harden into its final form:


A strip of LED lighting is then measured and cut to line up with the straight side of the sheet of acrylic:


Electrician Teddy Shropshire then solders the strip of lights to a power coupling:


And bingo: a Gweilo—which retails between $595 and $3,730 at LightForm—is born.