These independent designer names-to-know take ‘lit’ to a whole new level.
There must something in the water—or, in this case, the light waves—for these four young design studios. Their spring and summer lighting introductions make the most of evolved material languages to deliver fixtures that are at once comforting and subtly defiant of expectations. From the delicate yet thoughtfully adaptable chain-link motifs of Trueing’s latest, to Blue Green Works’ idiosyncratic beach-comber Brutalism, paying attention to these four names right now is undoubtedly a bright idea.
California-based designer Bennet Schlesinger’s emotive bamboo, paper, and ceramic lamps have garnered a cult following among the creative class: He counts ceramist Simone Bodmer Turner, Green River Project designers Ben Bloomstein and Aaron Aujla, and the fashion designer Emily Bode as supporters. It’s easy to see why. His sculptures radiate light and warmth through a fabrication process that involves layering sheets of translucent paper over a woven bamboo armature. Schlesinger has said the process is akin to throwing clay, another medium in which he works fluently.
Currently represented by L.A. gallery Stanley’s, Schlesinger has shown around the country in group and solo shows at the now-closed-but-well-remembered New York galleries Signal in Brooklyn and Karma’s Amagansett outpost, as well as Big Medium in Austin, Texas, leaving him poised to continue working in the aesthetic tradition of his cited artistic forebears: Cy Twombly, Suzan Frecon, and Peter Voulkos. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Cofounders Josh Metersky and Aiden Bowman’s five-year-old lighting studio Trueing expanded its material repertoire this summer with the release of Serie, a new collection of chandeliers and pendants offered in five metal finishes. Metersky, formerly an engineer and product manager for the New York–based lighting designer Bec Brittain, and Bowman, a Bjarke Ingles Group alumnus, channel the traditions of Italian jewelers into fixtures comprised of substantial brass links with satisfyingly precise beveled edges.
The collection name is Italian for “series,” an on-the-nose nod to the format of the chain fixture, as much as the studio’s progression of ideas from glass to metal, forsaking the transparent for the opaque. Not that they have anything to hide: They also introduced their Cerine light fixtures in sandblasted glass this season, a new finish that, per Bowman, “is just really tasty-looking.”
Designer Arielle Assouline-Lichten, founder of the five-year-old Brooklyn-based studio Slash Objects, released her first lighting collection this spring, as part of her Coexist series. Each lamp is customizable and made entirely of recycled materials: a hand-hewn base crafted from marble remnants, a lampshade available in both a woven fabric made of 100 percent–recycled PET bottles, and a special edition bouclé.
The unfussy geometry of the base flatters both lampshade options, expanding on the contrasts and textures that define the studio’s furniture-making. It’s an elegant category bow from the studio, which is working next to bring the “exploded chandelier” from Assouline-Lichten’s time on the most recent season of HBO Max’s Ellen’s Next Great Designer to market as a multipiece collection.
Blue Green Works
New York–based studio Blue Green Works debuted its first collection this spring, designed and engineered entirely in lockdown. The resulting pieces were conceptualized around ideas of sanctuary through textures and materials that evoke sites of escape and leisure. The Fiber series, comprised of a sconce and pendant fixture, is a nautically tinged experiment in elemental raw fiberglass, while the Palm series is made from hand-rolled, kiln-slumped glass and precision-machined metal elements configured as pendants, a sconce and a floor lamp.
Creative director Peter B Staples, formerly of Apparatus Studio, mined his years spent combing the beaches of Fire Island to inform the collection’s measured approach to themes of temporality and transparency—from the dulled glow of a sunset hitting your eyes closed to the conviviality of a party that goes into the wee hours of the morning. The entire collection is currently available direct online and at The Future Perfect.