Portlandia Is Real: Designers Transform Factory Parts Into Fancy Lighting

One of the most creative approaches to green design is upcycling–transforming discarded materials into an object that, ideally, is both functionally and aesthetically more than the sum of its parts. The Canadian studio Castor (which means “beaver” in French) does an exemplary just of doing just that with its Deadstock series, which incorporates old industrial parts into new, classically modern lamps.

The project began when Castor stumbled across boxes of unused steel components in a defunct lighting factory in Toronto. That stock, which hadn’t been touched in 30 years, formed the basis for a four-piece lighting collection. “We like to take old materials that would otherwise become waste and re-contextualize their use,” says Castor’s Brian Richer, according to the studio’s press release. “Finding this old stock, produced in Canada by one of the largest lighting manufacturers, represents a part of history. By re-interpreting the definition of the parts, adding new materials and techniques, we are creating a new story for each product.” With its Jib wall lamp, for instance, Castor upgraded a vintage shade by stamping it into a ball shape and adding new dimmer technology and a flat fluorescent bulb panel.

But before the studio could put the collection into production, it had to resolve one pressing question: What to do when the stock runs out? To ensure continuity, Castor found the original supplier, which dug out the 30-year-old machining tools to revive a piece of manufacturing history.

[Photos by Derek Shapton]BL