With fixed-gear bicycles finally reaching the fated “liked it before it was popular” stage, design major Mark Colliass has created a bike accessory that is creative, environmentally conscious and obscure all at the same time. His invention converts a fixed-gear bike into a small, mobile, manufacturing plant that constructs lampshades through pedal power.
Here’s how it works: A rotational casting machine connects to a bike’s handlebars. A little bit of liquid resin flows into a rubber cast and it is infused into the rig. As the biker pedals, the front wheel spins the mold, whirring the plastic around the cavity. A chemical metamorphosis starts, and a little over half an hour later the rider can carry off a real life and artsy lampshade.
Colliass explains, “I wanted to emphasize the beauty of making something yourself and how strong a link you can have with your creation.” He added that with knowledge of the sort of “sweat equity” that goes into manufacturing just a simple lampshade, people might become more generous consumers and appreciate their products a bit more. Like growing your own vegetables, the consumer is engaged on both ends of their consumption.
Of course, Colliass’ lamp-making bicycle idea came from a more personal place than all that: “I had the mold and would be spinning it by hand for 40 minutes, which is a long time, and by the end I was knackered,” he explained. Shifting the work from his hands to his feet “seemed obvious in a kind of ridiculous way.”