In the Ventura Lambrate district at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, half a dozen talented young designers and design brands from around the world are coming together to launch new work under the banner of the soon-to-open Carwan gallery in Beirut, with Sight Unseen as media sponsor. Through April 15, we’ll be showcasing each of the participants on the site by documenting how their new products were made, plus what their studios looked like during the development process. Today’s subject is Lindsey Adelman, who works out of a tiny studio in the back of Manhattan design store The Future Perfect but creates her sprawling, modular chandelier series at Urban Glass, a Brooklyn atelier that’s fabricated work for the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Eva Zeisel, and Robert Rauschenberg. “Building visual tension is a theme that’s always interested me,” says Adelman. And in her latest work Catch, which features slumping glass orbs blown through oversized brass links, it’s the tension between “the fluid fragility of the glass and the strict, flat, weighty links. Mashing together the feminine and the masculine — something interesting usually happens,” she says.
Please tell us what you’ll be launching in Milan next week, and how it was made.
“Catch started with us playing with what you’d expect to see as a chandelier chain. I wanted to take that form, exaggerate it, let it become the armature, and blow the glass right into it. With lighting design, I often try to take the mundane parts that are typically concealed and transform them into something that you’d want to see. Karl Zahn, a designer who works for my studio, brought the hooks and links to a new level by developing a strong topological language, and then Karl and I worked directly with Michiko Sakano in the glassblowing hot shop to understand how the glass would behave with the brass forms that we had water-jet cut.”
“In order to create each Catch piece, Michiko blows the glass right into the brass form, and then continues to shape the form while her assistant Kim blows into the pipe. Karl works to shape the glass by pulling the brass form up and forcing the glass to slump exactly as we want it to. Michiko must maintain the perfect temperature while keeping all on center and turning the pipe. She makes it all look so easy, and we are thrilled she is coming with us to Milan so we can celebrate her.”
“Our close relationships with our clients and our manufacturing teams strongly influence the work that comes out of the studio. We see directly how people use the lighting in their spaces and how to design effectively with local industry. We have created many Catch units, some with lights and some without. They can be combined to build screens, chandeliers, single pendants — really whatever each client wants to try.”
What was the best design you saw at last year’s Milan fair?
“Ingo Maurer. I love that he still makes lighting seem magical. His LED light bulbs (see below) are simple, beautiful, and innovative.”
“I also loved Fréderique Morrel’s installation at Rossana Orlandi (above). The unexpected imagery and combination of material, palette, and form was so well crafted — kind of violent and spontaneous at the same time. I really responded to the combination of craft with non-overt levels of sexiness and harshness/morbidity. I don’t think you notice it at first, but it’s all there and done in the language of the Garden of Earthly Delights.”
What are you looking forward to doing or seeing this year?
“New projects by Formafantasma.”