Cost- and labor-intensive to fix, potholes remain the bane of planners and public alike, yet also reflect our success as a busy, mobile society, reliant on roads to take us to work and play or to supply us with goods and services.

Eager to exploit this intriguing dichotomy – and its tangible results – the Leipzig-based design collective diefabrik decided to preserve the singular shapes and stories of these rifts in their city’s fabric by filling potholes with plaster and turning their negative space into positive blueprints for delightful objects.

As part of diefabrik’s ambitious project, these pothole templates become unique lampshades using a thermoform technique. Shaped and shapely, their modern Arboblend material enriches the story of urban transformation with a blend of innovative properties that would enhance any city: It is durable, sustainable, 100 % biodegradable – and a porcelain lookalike.

Upmarket and, literally, down-to-earth, the resulting lamps are produced in limited batches and even a little bit street-wise – thanks to their signature names derived from the pothole’s address.

All pictures, including the header image, by diefabrik