Portland-based MapleXO and woodworker Paul Sykes give new life to discarded skateboard scraps

by Eva Glettner

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Portland, Oregon’s MapleXO rebirths old skateboards and skateboard scraps by turning them into everything from containers to bottle openers to earrings. Their most exciting object—the recently released Skatelamp—is a MapleXO collaboration with Paul Sykes of Sykes Wood Fenders, a local artisan and woodworker whose attention to detail is remarkable. MapleXO owner Lindsay Jo Holmes is immersed in skate and design culture, and relishes the adventure: “Skateboarding helps you look at the world differently. Suddenly, parking curbs and empty pools are treasures, and a piece of plywood on wheels is your diary.”

The process of building the lamp begins with the wood from decks sourced from dumpsters behind a skateboard factory in Tijuana, Mexico—but the rest of the process isn’t as simple. The strips of wood are already colored, so Holmes and Sykes are left with multicolored wooden veneer that they sand, steam and bend into shape. As Holmes explains on the MapleXO site, “Creating the channel for the cord is one of the most labor intensive parts of the process. With this channel, however, the cord is hidden and out of the way, and can be easily replaced. Once we’ve bent the laminated strips, we take them out of the mold, glue them up, put them in a different mold and still have another 10 steps to go through until the lamp is complete.”

Holmes was mentored by Sykes and their combined talent and work ethic produces a superior project—with a delightful story behind it too. She tells us, “We put in some major blood, sweat, and tears to make this lamp happen, but at the end of the day, we owe the credit back to skateboarding for the way it has opened our eyes to potential in what others consider garbage.”

Skatelamp is available Skatelamp for $595.

Images courtesy of Skatelamp