A few years ago I did something I’m not too proud of …
While visiting my childhood home over the holidays, my mother asked me to do something about the dozens of cassette tapes stacked in dust-topped organizers in my old bedroom. You see, she was trying to convert the room into an office and the tapes in their clunky, plastic spinning storage systems were in the way. I needed to get rid of them and as soon as possible. She didn’t tell me to throw them away but it was clear that they needed to find a new home.
I didn’t want to lug the cassettes back to my home in Brooklyn or pay to have them shipped. It had been years since I owned a cassette deck, and I wasn’t even buying CDs anymore. I wasn’t about to rent out a storage locker just for reasons of audiocassette nostalgia. There was no time for a garage sale. So I partook in one of those bittersweet, environmental atrocities — I got a big plastic garbage bag and dumped my musical youth into it.
Into the trash went an eclectic — and sometimes questionable assortment — of cassette tapes ranging from artists like the Stone Temple Pilots to the Spice Girls.
This moment and the big “what if?” is the first thing that came to mind when first seeing Ooomydesign’s Cassette Tapes Lamps. What if I had had the option to take those cassettes — whose tape could probably collectively span from Tacoma to Toledo — and transform them into something functional and interesting?
I don’t think I could have actually transformed them into lamps myself like Vanessa Moreno from Ooomydesign but it would have been reassuring to know that someone would be willing to take them — yes, Moreno accepts donations of unwanted tapes — off of my hands.
Using secondhand cassettes and plastic ties, Moreno’s lamps are a gently illuminating, visually striking tribute to the once-mighty cassette. They’re available as a box lamp (€70), small table lamp (€35.00), or even a floor lamp (€140) through the Ooomydesign online store. They’ll also be on display at the Designboom Mart at the CODE Design Fair in Copenhagen later this month.
If you’re looking for recycled audiocassette décor that’s less pricey but no less innovative, check out Sonic Flags from Improbable Projects and also head on over to Designboom's super-cool "Cassette Tape Culture" page.