Concordia Fine Arts graduate Nathalie Bandulet and Frédéric Marrimpoey-Cadet want to change the way people think about recycled and reused materials through the innovative lamps made in their small workshop in the Eastern Townships.
The couple owns Organic Design, a workshop and boutique located in Georgeville, a beautiful town near Magog, Quebec. The couple produces stylish hand-made lamps as well as other decoration accessories out of recycled and reused materials.
The workshop offers customers lamps from six collections: Nature, Steel, Glass, Transformation, Pyrex and Wood. The Nature collection features lamps made of branches and tree trunks of different shapes and sizes.
The bigger models are referred to as light sculptures because they look more like a sculpture than a lamp, and they are indeed a fusion of both.
This is the case of Primum Tempus, a light sculpture that the couple made this year. This lamp, pictured right, combines a tree trunk and spiraling copper wires, with white fabric lampshades.
Organic Design’s lamps reflect the owners’ interests in art and design as well as being as environmentally friendly as possible.
Besides making the lamps out of reused or recycled materials, the couple only uses beeswax and linseed or tongue oil to polish their lamps and tries to avoid using any other chemicals when possible.
The lamps made in the small workshop usually get good reviews from the clients because, as Bandulet says, they have succeeded in their “mandate to surprise a person with something that is recycled but does not look like it.”
Louise Royer, owner of the Royer boutique in Montreal, has quite a selection of Organic Design’s lamps for sale.
She says her clients also like the lamps very much.
Marrimpoey-Cadet has seen that buyers are very interested in knowing the story behind the lamps, because, he says, each one has a soul.
“We have put in a soul when we created the works of art,” she said. “There is a part that belongs to us. The objects are not that inert because there is a story that goes with them and people like that.”
However, the couple knows their creations are not for everyone.
Their upper scale lamps, which vary in price from roughly $200 to $2,900 for a light sculpture, are substantially more expensive than the lamps at Ikea.
Organic Design’s lamps attract two types of customers.
There are the wealthy ones who want to show off their one-of-a-kind lamp to their friends and there are those who appreciate the art and purchase a lamp because they like the ecological philosophy and story behind it.
“Younger generations see the beauty in the objects, but understand and appreciate how they were made as well,” Marrimpoey-Cadet says.
He added the magic is in removing the first function of the material they are working with and retransforming it into raw material.
It isn’t all easy though. Marrimpoey-Cadet said Organic Design is trying to remove the negative connotation the word “reuse” carries for some people.
“When we talk to people about reused materials, they always seem to have the impression of something that is ruined and dirty, something that has already been used and has no value.”
Bandulet agrees with her husband, saying the negative perception of reused things is the reason why people are so surprised when they tell them the lamps are made from recycled materials.
Other collections, such as the Steel and Pyrex, reuse material from a tool company and a cabinetmakers’ industrial waste, such as steel, aluminum, wood and Pyrex tubes.
The Glass collection on the other hand consists of lamps where the base is made of wine bottles that are cut and in some cases polished with a sand blaster.
Some models feature a motif on the glass, which is also done using the sand blaster, then the worked glass is combined with either a wooden or a metal base. The Transformation collection features parts of lamps from the 1950s and 1970s that are rearranged together and restored to give them a new life.
The fact that the lamps and light sculptures are all made out of recycled or reused materials limits how many can be made.
Most of Organic Design’s lamps are one of a kind. In cases where there is more than one of each lamp, less than six copies of each are made.
The exception is the Glass collection.
While some lamps in this series are also unique, 200 copies of some models are available.
The sales volume of Organic Design, now in its second year, are increasing because there are more orders from distributors, designers, as well as individual customers.
In the future, the couple plans to work on big light sculptures that will be priced above $10,000.
They will also continue working on Organic Design’s visibility in order to ensure the workshop will grow, much like its design objective, which is to reuse an object and make it germinate like a seed into something bigger.
For more information, check out Organic Design’s website at