Shedding Light on an Industrial Design Luminary

Lindsey Adelman

Steven Hempel  |  Photos by Lindsey Adelman, Photo by Joseph De Leo
January 17, 2014

Industrial designer Lindsey Adelman is best known for her series of branching lights and chandeliers. The creations evoke an industrial feel — evidenced by their oil-rubbed brass armatures — while remaining organic in nature. Her studio, founded in 2006, has become a favorite of high-profile designers and architects and counts designer Kelly Wearstler and architect Peter Marino among its clients. We spoke to Adelman, who recently opened a new space on Bond Street in Manhattan, about Design Week in New York and future plans.

How did Lindsey Adelman Studio begin? I took a break from the design world entirely to have my baby boy nine years ago. I really thought I was through with a design career, actually. Then I was invited to be part of an exhibition when Finn was about two. I realized I had a couple of ideas in me that I was still eager to try. I made the first Bubble chandeliers, and people saw them, and people ordered them, and then before I knew it, I had a business. It turned out great, because I was really aware of the kind of process and studio I wanted to run. Slow design. Thoughtful. Enjoyable. Not too stressful. It’s still pretty much that way.

You recently opened a new showroom. Was this in the works for some time? It seemed like an obvious need for me to show our clients finished light fixtures that were plugged in somewhere. We were receiving studio visits five to 10 times per week, but all they saw was a really loud room with metal shavings and half-assembled armatures. It was hard to explain what they would be buying. I knew I didn’t want a store. I knew I didn’t want walk-ins. I wanted it to feel like I could hang anything in there to test the reaction. So that’s what I found. I’m really lucky that an amazing private art dealer said yes to subletting his gallery — we get to live with all the Robert Rymans and Richard Serras every day.

ICFF/Design Week in NY. It’s has had its ups and downs. I personally came away feeling positive about the show and the other exhibitions in town that week. Do you feel it’s on a rebound? I guess it always feels the same level to me, just in different ways. This year, my favorite pieces were the new Daydream mirrors by Jason Miller and the beer lounge at the Bowery Hotel by Fort Standard.

Any collaborations with artists or designers? I adore working with my close friend, glass artist Nancy Callan. She is a powerhouse full of grace, and it is reflected in her work. We’re making new work now for a show in October.

Upcoming projects? We’re doing a large-scale lighting installation with glass pods suspended by a network of branching aircraft cable in a beautiful mansion uptown for Tamara Mellon and Michael Ovits. Who could complain about sharing the space with six Warhols.

Any Texas roots? I wish. That sounds so much cooler than Westchester, NY. No — just a Marfa-trip dream.