Light is such a precious commodity. Especially in early January, when days are made up of going to work as the sun is coming up, being in the office whilst the sun is at its most effective and then returning early evening in the dark. Only for the same process to start again each day for a couple of months. I’m not someone who craves the sun, I generally like the cold better than heat, and crisp wintery mornings over blazing sunny afternoons. But at some point I need the light, to energise my day and help me wake up. Light within houses sometimes is so oppressive. Getting a balance with ambient light is so important, we use dimmers and candles to give the right level of light especially in the living room. So it is pleasing when you accidentally come up with a box that gives off its own ambient glow (and your not sure how or why).
When the box renaissance happened in 2003/04 this was one of the first boxes I created. I had been given as a birthday gift, a fascinating book on Structural Packaging Designs by Haresh Pathak for Pepin Press. The book contained designs for everything from bottle carriers to chinese food containers and from basic envelopes to complex triangular display cases. As I flicked through it, I looked at one of the simpler designs, page 65 ‘Reverse Tuck with Tapered Top’ and after wondering whether this wasn’t a description for a fancy diving move, I decided I would try to make it. A basic fold out design was shown with no measurements or instructions, so I made it up as I went along. This would be a common theme to all boxes that would follow. My basic sketch with measurements is shown here and as usual I embellished the design by adding a window in the front panel. I remember this created some difficulty in getting the tabs in the right places.
White corrugated cardboard was used for the main body and the window panel incorporates a pane of thick frosted red acetate. Construction was surprisingly simple and had (what would be) the novel experience of a lid that actually worked. This left a slight opening around the top panel which may explain the strange phenomena which would occur. When completed it was placed in a number of places in the house ending up sitting next to a table lamp. It was then we noticed its slight glow. Im not sure how, maybe a stray ray from the light source bouncing from the lid within the box itself and giving the frosted red window a slight ambient effervescence. This may be a figment of my imagination, so Im certainly not claiming a Joseph Swan discovery but anything that enlightens my way is most welcome. No matter how accidental.