Ask a Designer – How to craft lamps from paper | Handmade Paper Lampshades

Ask a Designer – How to craft lamps from paper | Handmade Paper Lampshades


Shapes that are simple, yet still eye-catching. Berlin’s Rio Grande restaurant boasts four
large and eleven small, round light shades designed by Catherine Grigull. The designer wants her light fixtures to create
a pleasant ambience. Grigull’s been making them to order in her
studio in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district for 17 years now. “I think light fixtures have to be purist. Our world is incredibly overstimulated, with
lots of colors and insanely complicated forms. That’s why I use pure, simple shapes that
are soothing.” Ballhaus, Rennoval, Frawaschi are some of
the names Catherine Grigull has given her paper shades. They’re made of material that won’t burn or
discolour even when used with 400-watt bulbs. Each light fixture is unique, crafted from
handmade paper — and costs between 70 and 5,000 euros. The shades are the heart of her creations
and their shapes are inspired by a variety of associations. “I call this model ‘Peplon Drei’. Peplon is a Greek woman cinched in with several
belts. This model is also often called a waterfall. Because once it’s all covered in pleats, it
looks like a waterfall when you hang it up.” Catherine Grigull often works with handmade
paper. This type from the Himalayas, with its noticeable
texture, is especially suited to appliqués. So is this Japanese paper that’s interwoven
with thread. Grigull applies paste to the surface of the
paper to make it more robust. Mounting the wet paper on the frame requires
meticulous care to ensure it doesn’t tear. Catherine Grigull uses industrially produced
Japanese Washi paper most frequently. “What’s special about this is the evenness
of its structure. Plus, the rolls are 30 meters long, so the
paper puts no limits on the size of the light shades.” Grigull lights can be found in celebrity homes
and elegant restaurants. Most are made using previously designed forms,
like these in the restaurant Eckbert Zwo in Berlin. But some clients order entirely new shapes. Catherine Grigull was an actress and stunt
woman until she designed a light for a restaurant without thinking much about it. Then people started asking for more of them. “These lights can be extremely bright and
provide strong illumination, without seeming terribly heavy. And if you use them with a dimmer, you can
have subdued light and enjoy an evening in a cosy atmosphere.” Every Grigull light shade is made by hand. Catherine Grigull produces no more than 30
models per year, focusing on quality rather than quantity.

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