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04.13.10

Spring Light

This  past winter was exceptional for me as I did not retreat into the malaise due to the lack of light.  I happen to love to collect all things.  And one winter evening as i took a visual inventory, I realized lighting happens to be one of “those things”.  I’ve decided to share a few of my personal decorative lighting pieces that carried me through the season of cold dark skies.

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"24 Karat Blau" designed by Axel Schultes for Ingo Maurer

First shown is the 24 Karat Blau hanging lamp. It is a flexible design by Axel Schulte for the famous House of Ingo Maurer, the German lighting studio who for the past three decades has been creating whimsical lighting designs.  Maurer’s designs are even included in the Harry Potter films to decorate and light the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The effect created by Maurer’s single-lit dangling candles from silken thread is absolutely ghostly. 

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"Fly Candle Fly" by Ingo Maurer: single wax candle and suspension wire

What I love most about the 24 Karat lamp (besides its economy of design and cost app. 400.USD) is that the flexible composition, created by the four separate planes of laminated gold leaf, red rubber cord and classic filament,  is simple yet sumptuous and rich.  The clear classic “A-lamp” filament, when seen through the gold foil, is a magical streak of blue lightning. Certainly a sorcerer’s wand at work, Tesla would be proud!

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Illuminating "STAY" by the artist Jack Pierson, The Eclipse Lamp Mauricio Klabin, 1991 The shade can be adjusted to change the form and orientation of its light. The metal frame has small, movable stabilizing rings that allow the lamp to rest in many positions. Folds flat for storage. Made of steel, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

Ambient lighting is so essential to modern living. I suppose that at its cognitive core it replaces the warmth of the glow produced by its ancestor, the heated coals of a roaring fire. It’s amazing to realize the casual nature in which we accept these great designs, whose technologies are a little over a century old, as is they have always been a part of everyday existence. Of course many parts of the world still depend on fire light, yet nothing to date produced by tungsten or glass and gas can ever recreate the romance and the ancient awe of the basic element. The mollusk inspired “Eclipse” Light balances the hard angular light produced by the adjustable mono-point track lighting that I have in my dining/conference room.

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French 1940's Sculpted Onyx base with Paper Shade Designer: Unknown

To contrast the mechanical and modernist plastic-strips of the latter constructivist light,  I added to my collection a 1940’s French flame-shaped carved onyx  lamp.  Originally designed, I suspect, to wear a more traditional silk-shade, possibly pleated or shirred. My contemporary addition to its aesthetics leaned to a cleaner approach with the use of a simple barrel-shaped  paper shade. I really adore this lamp in so many ways because its’ classical and ancient lines,  it makes me feel like such an adult to own it .  I guess its the hand craftsmanship so unusual and so rare in the age of IKEA, CB2 and West Elm.

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Reflective and indirect light is yet another approach to creating a lighting effect that is both easy on the eyes and creates softer shadows. It is not like the lighted globe in the middle of the room that i try to avoid at all costs. Again, it is its reproduction of a natural condition which makes it so appealing and less “additive”.  In this case, I have used another Ingo Maurer fixture in my entry hall to light the ceiling of my dark gray foyer.  The 150 watts of halogen light produced by this wall fixture does not decrease the depth of richness of color. Instead it reinforces the depth of contrast between the tobacco colored walls and the freshness of the white of the ceiling.

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Last, but certainly not not least, is the  half-silvered  “A”-based  lamp (lamp is the official and accurate way to refer to the bulb,) screwed into the classic porcelain lamp-socket.  This, now rustic, early 20th century technology looks never ceases to dazzle me.  And in this case, like the shoemaker’s shoes, has come to represent the spot when some other “brilliantly” terrific design of my own creation is ultimately planned to occupy. Except the design never arrives, although pages of sketches are dedicated to this spot. Lighting, like well orchestrated grammar in prose, can be a wonderful foundation to describe a narrative. It is essential to create pauses and contradictions and even startling drama in order to thread the story along. Weave, weave away with light.

2 responses to Spring Light

  1. Judith Pascoe says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful collection of lamps, Leyden, and for the interesting commentary. I agree about the cheeriness of lighting on dull days, and cold nights.I, too have a lamp collection, the latest addition (designed by my French son in law} having a small brightly striped resin shade. This evening was quite chilly, the onset of Autumn, here Down Under, and the glow from this lamp was almost like having lit a fire.

  2. eric says:

    i miss the crib!


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Leyden