Circular Economy | Reclaimed Vintage Industrial Lighting | Loomlight

Closing the Circle with Reclaimed Lighting

Circular Economy and Reclaimed Lighting

November 04, 2020

Hope For Our Planet?

Sir David Attenborough’s documentary “A Life on Our Planet”, which was aired on Netflix recently, was a powerful witness statement about the negative effects of human consumption on the planet and it’s wildlife. If you have not seen it, I recommend watching it.

Although most of us nowadays are aware, at some level, of the effects of our daily life on the world around us, this documentary was still a real eye-opener. Seeing the damaging effects of climate change and mass deforestation on wildlife is heart breaking.

However, the closing message from David Attenborough was one of hope. The actions to rewild our planet are, thankfully, still possible. We are the first generation to know that we are destroying our planet, so we can do something about it. Perhaps we will be the last generation that can do anything about it. We just need to get everybody on board, working to the same goal. It is that which will be the biggest task.

How Can We Help?

“A Life on Our Planet” was inspiring and made me question everything I do. Everything about my personal day to day existence is questioned; how we feed our children and teach them about living responsibly, what to throw away, where to throw it and what to reuse.

Also, in my professional life, how can we improve the operation of our business from how we travel to work, to where our supplies come from, all the way to how we deliver our end product.

So much to think about, it can be mind boggling, even off putting. But to make it less daunting I choose to look at one thing that can easily be changed. Start somewhere. Once this becomes habit, I can move on to the next thing to tackle. It can’t happen overnight, but if we all start making gradual changes for the better today, it will set us on the right track.

Eliminate Waste - Recycle, Refurbish, Reuse, Repair…

I am a Co-founder of Loomlight. We are in the business of reclaiming and restoring high quality vintage and industrial lighting ready to be repurposed by modern folk for contemporary interiors. A circular process aka good old-fashioned recycling!

You may have heard of a “Circular Economy” which might have become a bit of a buzz word over the past few years. But the theory and practicality behind this buzz word makes total sense.  

The theory of an ideal circular economy is where we use resources sparingly and recycle endlessly. There is no waste. Waste is a design flaw. Use less, keep things longer, recycle. Essentially trying to emulate a natural ecosystem which operates in cycles - plants grow in soil and get eaten by animals, animal’s poo goes back into the soil and replenishes it - simple.

With the backlash of the decades of our over-consumption looming over us like the grim reaper the vision of a circular economy is exciting, refreshing and feels like a breath of fresh air cutting through the smog we have created. Why couldn’t we see this before? A bit like the realization that cigarette’s actually kill us rather than having the health benefits that the 1930’s doctors would have us believe.  

The success of the circular economy will have a great deal to do with how consumer products are designed. The most sustainably and environmentally conscious product designers think cleverly about a product's life cycle and what happens at the end it's "life", so that there is no waste, ensuring the product can be recycled, repurposed or reused.

Why is industrial lighting design so good?

The light fixtures we salvage have originally been designed for use in military, marine or industrial settings where the design intent required they withstand the most unaccommodating environments. These light fittings are therefore highly robust. The quality is outstanding and unlike anything you could purchase from the high street.

The designs are unique and timeless. You see countless inferior replications on the market, but the build quality and materials used are not comparable.

My partner and I saw this as an opportunity. Fantastic quality lighting that can be restored to look good as new, with modern electrical components whilst retaining the character or patina of age that comes with a vintage light that in some cases we don’t want to polish away. 

I understand industrial style lighting is not for everyone, some people prefer something more modern, but our customers are often interested in great design and engineering or looking for something unique and characterful with some industrial chic. Something which our light fittings have in bucket loads!

We reclaim metal lighting in the most part - copper, brass, stainless steel and aluminium. Copper is a perfect circular material because it can be recycled indefinitely without loss of quality.  

 
Reclaimed vintage industrial style Japanese Bronze Ceiling Pendant Light by Kokosha  

Our restoration process can be arduous in some cases. But there is always a hidden gem underneath the rust or scuffed old paint work.  Metal lighting is truly satisfying to restore because it comes back to life so beautifully. 

 restoration process of reclaimed lighting


And so the circular life cycle can continue.

The salvage and reclamation industry doesn’t come without any issues of course. There are always things that can be improved in terms of reducing waste associated with the restoration process, and the materials used.  Something which we are constantly striving to improve.

However today the positives we can take is that we, along with our customers, are keeping these beautifully designed and well engineering lights in circulation. Creating and closing the circle.

Shop our collection of Reclaimed Lighting.