A Concrete Lamp Molded After Century-Old Defense Tech

Before we had radar, Great Britain deployed acoustic mirrors dubbed “listening ears” along their coasts. These 16-foot concrete structures were intended to focus sound waves so the military could hear planes coming before they could be seen. Now, they’re just cultural artifacts that dot the land–ingenious totems for the next great civilization to scratch their heads at.

As part of a new line of concrete accessories, Concrete by LCDA and designer Matali Crasset have paid tribute to the lumbering acoustic giants in a piece of their own: a lamp.

“It is a tribute to concrete structures,” Crasset tells Co.Design. “I’ve always been fascinated by the ‘visual encyclopaedia’ of Becher . . . when I discovered this radar project I was captivated by the beauty.”

The lamp is, of course, constructed of concrete, just like the listening ears. But rather than passively reflecting light your way, the lamp is fitted with 36 LEDs that generate an 1800-lumen output, softened by a diffuser. The result is a somewhat strange home furnishing–one that’s spying yet comforting, industrial yet domestic, nostalgic yet modern at the same time. It was enough to beg the question, Why are we all so obsessed with concrete in the first place?

“Concrete is a material that is a cornerstone of modernity,” Crasset responds. “Concrete is constantly reinventing itself.”

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[Hat tip: Dezeen]MW