British designer James Shaw has certainly been keeping good company. His Jars table and suspension lamps sit alongside other 3rings notables like Creighton Berman’s Coil Lamp, John Harrington’s 150 glasses, and Zuii’s Winter. These pieces resemble one another for the skillful synthesis of pedestrian (even “disposable”) materials and innovative execution. They also each fit into one of my favorite informal A & D categories, which I somewhat cavalierly define as follows: “what you typically think of as this is now that.” The aforementioned lights thus transpose, respectively, an electrical cord, a bevy of retired champagne flutes, and a twisted knot of plastic bags into inspired lightpieces. Shaw’s contribution to this protean and utilitarian exercise is the rather non-descript frosted jar.
Jars Lamps. Desigend by James Shaw.
Though perhaps I should refine that last modifier, for Shaw’s jars are unlike those bottling apparatuses of my childhood (the American by way of Philadelphia Mason jar). Perhaps Shaw’s choice—with their prominence of slightly mysterious frosted glass—is unique to the British Isles, or perhaps just Europe. Either way, the choice suits the medium. Shaw’s jar lamps come in various shapes and sizes: clustered together as a suspension lamp, topped with a perforated lid for a simple desk lamp, or inverted atop a simple pedestal base and narrow shaft for a slightly larger table lamp.
Each incarnation includes Shaw’s frosted and finely sanded glass, thus unifying the collection around a particular theme and distinctive aesthetic, while facilitating the variety of different styles and colors of “tops” (jar lids punctured to allow passage of the electrical cord). The Jar series is also laudable for its versatility. Its retro re-workings transcend boundaries of taste, locale, and style, rendering it of equal allure for shabby-chic Soho lofts or the quaint cool of forested retreats.