We’ve all heard of “mood lighting” – a warm, glowing aura that helps you relax and unwind. The mood lighting of Przmek Krawczynski (aka Calabarte) however, is of an altogether different hue – and one that is sure to blow your mind.
Krawczynski is a man who understands the effect that light can have on the human mind. As you can see from the beautiful lamps he creates for a living, this artist knows how to exploit light’s ability to calm, mesmerize and amaze.
And incredibly, these mind-bogglingly ornate objects are created from the gourd fruit – a plant which has a naturally hard shell. This lamp, completed in May 2011, is made of a type of Senegali gourd called calabash. Which is, presumably, why Krawczynski has chosen the name Calabarte to work under.
The inner layer of the lamp is made of white wood, which is thin enough that it allowed the light to shine through the undulating patterns carved into the gourd. Once carved, the gourd was then mounted on a “stem” of waxed string.
Though the lamp itself is only 16 inches tall, its design allows it to project expansive, eye-popping patterns of light. In his website bio Krawczynski says he has a “scientific mind,” and you can certainly see this in the engrossing precision of his creations.
This table lamp, called the “Continuo Knot”, uses a markedly different technique from his other models. The white strip weaving through the gourd is made from three knots, woven together in complex ways to create a 125 inches continuously long strip.
Over the surface of the lamp, Krawczynski split 12 pentagons into 20 parts, which marks the lines dividing the white strips. This means that there are 240 parts of the strip covering the whole lamp. Complex stuff!
The 32 thorns which give the lamp its unique look are made of beech wood and covered with natural oil, while the shaded carving along the continuous strip makes for a muted, gentle light.
It’s through this technical know-how that Krawczynski’s previous role becomes evident. The artist used to be employed in an architect’s studio. And who else could painstakingly realise such hypnotically-patterned works? Just look how this orb sheds its light in fascinating ways.
Krawczynski is 33 and hails from Lodz, Poland. He studied building engineering at college, but it wasn’t until he happened across the gourd fruit in 2009 that his artistic career really took off.
He started off using gourd plants from Poland, but a trip to Senegal convinced him to switch to an African strain called calabash. Now, he sources gourds from Senegal, Guinea and Mali.
This wall lamp, for example, is made of Senegalese calabash. Its intricate and flowing pattern has been inspired by various natural plant formations. It’s beautiful to see how such a thorough and meticulous approach can pay off!
Photos like this show why the name Calabarte is making waves across the internet. And the artist now has customers across the globe. He’s sent lamps all over the world – from South East Asia and Russia to Mexico and Canada.
Not bad for a self-taught artist! But success needs commitment. The creation of these lamps is a long process, and the production time for each piece is between two and four months.
First, Krawczynski plans out his design by sketching the swirling, repetitive patterns of the gourds. As you can see from the sheer amount of detail on the designs, this is an important part of the method.
Next, the gourds are processed through a complex method of cleaning, engraving, perforating, painting and protecting. Patience and precision is required to ensure Calabarte’s unique designs are perfectly realized.
Once this is done, the light can be installed and the gourd mounted. This lamp, finished in September 2014, powerfully illustrates the meticulousness of Krawczynski’s style. Just look how those clear-cut, maze-like shapes dance across the walls!
As Krawczynski has said on his website, “My aim is constant progression in my work, excitation of pushing the envelope.” And this floor lamp, the first one the artist completed, proved to be one of his biggest challenges.
It was planned with insane levels of detail; and Krawczynski used a system to lay out the perforated holes around the surface of the gourd. Through this method, he estimates that there are around 16,000 holes in the gourd.
The results are, needless to say, mind-blowing. The circular patterns seem to repeat and flow into each other, whilst the differing thickness of the carving gives the shades a soothing, immersive effect.
Once you’ve seen Calabarte’s magical creations, you’ll want to own one yourself. Krawczynski has said of his vocation, “I want my art to be the path of continuous learning, exploration and the element of my personal development.” And we certainly hope he’ll keep surprising us.