Simple, modern light fixtures
February 15, 2008, 11:40 pm
Filed under: Architecture, Design

Very few things are as discouraging to us as over-design. It’s depressing to know that somebody out there worked extra hard to overstep harmonious design and continued right on through to achieve superfluous, often nonsensical results. When you’ve solved the problem elegantly – stop – go home and be with your kids, go have a drink. Apparently most lighting designers aren’t spending enough time with their kids or enough time at the bar because, it seems to us, they just keep designing and designing. Most light fixtures seem over-worked to the point of design-coma. For the last several years we’ve been searching far and wide for light fixtures that are about the nature of light itself – rather than the fixture. There are, of course, some very nicely designed light fixtures out there, and for those we recommend Louis Poulsen and Artemide. But with most of our favorite lights you don’t even notice the light fixture itself. Here’s what we’ve come up with, let us know what’s on your list:

B-Lux: Zentrum Wall or Ceiling Light, $800, 25.25″SQ X 3.25″
Fluorescent lamps & electronic ballast

B-Lux Zentrum light

B-Lux: Q-Bo Wall or Ceiling Light, $240, 6″W X 6.25″H
Compact fluorescent lamp & electronic ballast

B-Lux Q-Bo light

Prisma: Pro Interior Plat Series & Tech Series
Compact Fluorescent

Prisma Pro Interior Tech & Plat

Prisma: Quatrix Series
Compact Fluorescent

Prisma Quatrix Series lights

Prisma Quatrix Series lights

RAB Lighting: VBR BRACKET, $50 & VX 4″ BOX, $28
Incandescent up to 200 watts.
RAB lights

Prudential Lighting: P-60, P-61, P-40 & P10 series
Suspended / wall-mounted mountings.
Downlight / up/downlight / uplight / wallwasher with fluorescent

Prudential lighting P10-60 series

Prudential Lighting: Snap series

Prudential snap series light

Prudential snap series light

Luceplan: Metropoli Series, $180 – $800
Fluorescent or Incandescent

Metropoli series lights

Metropoli series lights

Metropoli series lights

Aamsco: Alinea, ~$200
12″, 20″ or 40″ lengths x 1.3” wide x 1.75” high

Aamsco Alinea lights

Thomas Lighting SL875-3 – Indoor/Outdoor Wall Sconce, $25

Thomas SL875-3

Twenty-five-friggin-bucks for a nice, clean, modern lamp. With the money you save on this fixture you can join the designer at the bar.


7 Comments so far
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[…] LIGHTING via BUILD Blog (nice post on industrial light fixtures). Filed under: All, Lighting and Electrical […]

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Love your selections… but I can’t afford them. Why does “over design” cost so much less than “just enough design”?

Comment by matt

It’s a good question, and one that I can only offer conjecture on. I notice that nice, simple lights aren’t as popular and subsequently must have a smaller production rate, thereby driving the cost per unit up. With minimal lights, like the ones shown above, the materials and connections are more visible and more important; more attention must be paid to the finish and assemblies of the fixture. From my own experience these lights last a lot longer than the over-designed lights – they may actually be cheaper if you looked at the cost over 10, 20, 30 years… The internet is a great place to find great deals on lights. Used Louis Poulsen PH5 lamps, for example, can often be found on eBay for a fraction of the cost.

Comment by buildllc

Blame the consumer’s desire for “old world” look. Colonial, French Louis XIV, Tudor and other creepy design motifs from 200+ years ago make me want to puke, but the reality is that is what people today think is attractive.
I too find it odd that you have to pay more for less, but at Wal-Mart you can find overly ornate light fixtures for $20.
Maybe thats why IKEA is so popular among some folks, the prices are at least not outrageous.

Comment by Rick Cain

Not to promote the big box home supply stores, but in and among the over-designed, one can find high production “builder basic” fixtures which are the opposite of “designer simple.” These are stripped down, stark and standard, but fit well when a budget is the primary consideration. Which is why they are made…

Comment by Dennis Fukai

Great point Dennis. We recently specified the old standard white porcelain light bulb bases with pull chain for the primary lighting in a living space for that very reason. We’re using a sea of them to create an affect of repetition rather than just using one special light fixture. They’re everything they need to be and nothing more, they’re also $7.35 apiece. Leviton makes a great one (model #29816-C). You can get them at Home Depot, Lowe’s or any lighting supply shop.

Comment by buildllc

Fabulous Modern Lamps! Nice work! Thanks for doing this blog. I absolutely love it!

Comment by sonnemanawayoflight

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