In Lighting Design, Passion is Always in Fashion

Jason Wu debuts at New York Fashion Week, a thrill to see!

We’re two weeks away from New York Fashion Week, the festivities kicking off on February 9th with the usual fanfare. We enjoyed attending several shows last September and look forward to seeing what the world’s top designers have been up to in the interim. Given there is always a relationship between fashion and design, we thought we’d highlight one of our clients on the blog today, as we believe there is inspiration in this story for any company regularly debuting design products.

Marivi Calvo .

Larry Lazin, CEO of Global Lighting, brought Marivi Calvo to our attention. BB, as her friends and family call her, is the co-founder of LZF-Lamps with her real-life partner Sandro Tothill, and she has always approached the release of products with a fashion designer’s attention to detail. We asked her to explain the highly considered nature of her orchestration, which Larry deems choreography at its finest, and we couldn’t agree more:

BB: When we are working with designs for our products, I am not just thinking about the product itself but how it will be presented. I am thinking concurrently about the product and the shows or showrooms in which they will be displayed. There are actually two different tasks I am attempting to achieve at the same time.

With this shot of the Armadillo, you can almost feel the swish of a skirt trailing along the runway, a la Jason Wu above!

Adroyt: Can you explain how you developed this way of “seeing” or would you say it is innate?

BB: We know the product because we created it—and we should know it, so there is a natural affinity to “seeing” all aspects of it!

Sandro: I’d like to chime in here because I think this will explain her level of orchestration. When I met BB, she was crazily designing suits for a ballet she wanted to do. They were made of antique bits and bobs, such as tin funnels and cake molds! Her work had gone far beyond what some people would categorize as art, and even though those suits were garments that a person would wear, they were works of art in every sense of the word. The group she was working with was doing the entire ballet—writing the music, choreographing the dance and creating the costumes. She was to the point of taking photographs of the suits on the models when I met her, and the project was simply amazing!

When we branched into the lights, I knew BB could have gone in any direction and the tack we took came about very fortuitously! The lights we make now were born on a summer evening when we were trying to decide the veneer for the kitchen cabinetry of our home. We had a client who always bought paintings from her and he had collections of catalogs—tiles, flooring and other materials. He showed us some psychedelic reconstructed wood veneers that were extremely cool but were fragile and kept breaking. We had placed them on the light table, which BB switched on as it grew dark outside. We turned to look at them and it was so perfect because this was clearly an “aha moment.”

Adroyt: We think this story truly represents the spirit of design at its most inspired; we applaud any design team that has such a fortuitous experience but there is a discipline to creating highly-refined products that must go hand-in-hand with serendipity. This is present in the LZF model in the level of attention BB lavishes on their designs, production and presentation, as she approaches each from an aesthete’s point of view. The company’s attention to detail is reminiscent of this quote from Walter Pater’s The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry: “Beauty, like all other qualities presented to human experience, is relative; and the definition of it becomes unmeaning and useless in proportion to its abstractness. To define beauty, not in the most abstract but in the most concrete terms possible, to find, not its universal formula, but the formula which expresses most adequately this or that special manifestation of it, is the aim of the true student of aesthetics.”

BB is one of those true students of aesthetics and her story of living as a young painter in New York City, making her way along the Bowery as Jean-Michel Basquiat scavenged for construction waste on which to paint nearby, is one that most artists don’t even dare to dream. She tells Larry Lazin about this experience on the Global Lighting blog today. Click here and you’ll find a fascinating story awaiting you.

Footnote: A contingient of our favorite bloggers/social media friends will be in town for Jason Wu’s fall fashion debut thanks to Brizo. I was amongst the first fortunate group to be invited into the Blogger19 fold (the proof is here!) and all I can say is they are in for a wonderful ride!

Next Tuesday, we have a treat in store: we’ll be reviewing Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment. Don’t ask us how we managed to work other visionaries like Andy Rooney, Richard Branson and Tony Hsieh in the mix (you’ll just have to trust us)!


Everything and the Kitchen Sync

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to sit down with Kelly Morisseau’s new book Kelly’s Kitchen Sync, and today’s the day! Preparing for this review brought me to a startling realization: I’ve interviewed hundreds, maybe thousands of designers and architects during my career as a journalist. It’s trippy to realize how many talents I’ve grilled about their way of working and the projects they’ve created but I’m happy about it, too, as this experience brings with it a certain facility in recognizing the overarching themes within the design disciplines.

Why did this come to mind? It has to do with one word that Kelly so brilliantly mines in her book time and time again: lifestyle. The most notable design visionaries I’ve canvassed over the years have known that any successful project would have to have considerations of lifestyle very high on the list and right up front. In her book, Kelly highlights how lifestyle considerations impact everything in a kitchen project, down to the choices of flooring: “If Junior is on the soccer team and forgets to take his cleats off, you bet you don’t want to install wood flooring in the kitchen (unless he can be trained). Are there animals already digging for traction in a race around the island? Will the window reflection in your high-gloss floor illuminate every streak and dust mote?”

Though the book is truly a “nuts and bolts” exploration of every factor involved in a kitchen project, whether it’s new construction or a renovation, the emotional aspects of design are not ignored, something that I believe is astute on Kelly’s part. In a section titled “Listening to that inner voice,” she writes, “’I wish I had…’ is one of the most painful sentences in kitchen design. My function as a designer is to pay attention to what you’re saying about your likes and lifestyle, and point out pros and cons of each choice, even if sometimes you don’t want to hear it, so that you can make an informed decision.”

If you are one of those people muttering, “I wish I had some sound advice as I tackle my dream kitchen” at the moment, this book must be in your tote bag or on your bedside table. It will likely be marked up, dog-eared, and covered with sheetrock dust and flecks of wood stain by the time you install the last fixture, and I bet Kelly would be thrilled if it was because it will mean she’s done her part in helping to alleviate most if not all of the confusion that comes with the maddening process known as constructing a kitchen.

Kelly is an esteemed member of Blogger19, a group of devoted designers/bloggers brought together by Brizo once upon a storied time far, far away. To see what some of the other members of our dramatic, albeit small, troupe had to say about her book, here’s a list:

Jamie Goldberg an exclusive excerpt on “Hiring a Kitchen Designer”

Arne Salvesen, CKD

Paul Anater

Bob Borson

Sarah Lloyd

Susan Serra, CKD

Carmen Natschke

Nick Lovelady

Aston Smith

Ann Porter

Pam Rodriguez

Andie Day

Cheryl Kees Clendenon

Kelly’s blog is here.



Emily’s Post for #ThoughtThursday

Photo courtesy of Emily Post’s Etiquette on the Web

The relationships that are created through social media are a digital derivative of our more traditional social structures. Acquaintances, friends, business partners, strangers: they all have their counterparts online. Virtual does not connote inconsequential. As a matter of fact, the ruthlessly persistent nature of digitized record can make the niceties of relationship maintenance paramount.

The customs and etiquette of face to face personal encounters carry through to the web in many instances. Sometimes it’s easy to let a mention or a message slide when the speaker is not staring at you in anticipation of your reply. That doesn’t mean the absence is not noted. The effect is a gradual erosion of trust and relevance to the other party. We all need to know that “we matter” – that our time is well-spent, that our choices are justified. Ignore me and I will surely ignore you back; it’s a simple “unfollow,” “block,” “un-like,” “dis-connect.” The power of the veto, with a click.

So, mind your manners! Thank your new followers. Show a little gratitude for the person that RT’s your link, that Likes your status, that comments on your blog post. These are the people that put you where you are in this community of connectivity; without them, your voice is silenced. If you exercise your choice to listen and reply, you will maintain that right. Choose to ignore and it will be removed, one click at a time.

Next up, we’re featuring one of our Blogger19 pals, Kelly Morisseau, offering you a peek inside her book Kelly’s Kitchen Sync. Her kitchen design tips are right on, which is no surprise, as we’ve known she’s a design visionary since Brizo brought us all together during New York Fashion week, a trip we all owe Twitterati Paul Anater a thank you not for (monthly)!