Ever think to yourself, well, the only real difference between fabricating a sconce and a jeweler crafting an earring would be the addition of electricity? Buffalo Bannon’s craft is comparable to that of three different lighting manufacturers based in New York City: Apparatus Studio, Workstead, and Bec Brittain. There may be a drastic difference between the grand scale of a light fixture and the finer scale of a jewelry object, but these two forms of craft are virtually part of the same world and elements can be found in both that embody one another.
Apparatus Studio, out of Manhattan, has honed in sensual materials like marble, suede, horsehair, lacquer and semi-precious stones. They combine them with patinated metals to create ambient objects that serve as the final touches to an interior. Their collection titled ‘Talisman’, refers to an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck. Buffalo Bannon’s collections too encompass semi-precious stones which can be known to provide balance in your life and sometimes even hold healing powers. These fixtures align in a very strict arrangement of either beige agate, grey jade, white jade or desert jasper beads and are pierced finely by fluted pins─your choice of aged brass, oil rubbed bronze, blackened brass or lastyl tarnished silver, of course, with a 30% upcharge. The essence of the 14 pendant is reminiscent of a necklace, except that it hangs above your dining table, and the loop sconce delicately dangles as though it were an earring, just at a much larger scale. This collection ranges from $2,200 for their 1 sconce, $5,400 for their loop scope, and a worth-every-penny $16,800 for their 14 pendant. The handcrafted artisan quality, seen in both Buffalo Bannon’s collections and Apparatus Studio convey thoughtfulness and add a certain charm one that is not prevalent in machine made jewelry or lighting.
Workstead is another lighting design team, much more fairly priced than its competitor above, that seems to have captured the elements of jewelry making─providing an ethereal, yet affordable set of ambient objects to the lighting market. Their collection titled ‘Signal’ is available in a sconce, flush-mount, or pendant and ranges from $875 to $1075. The hand blown glass globe with a sandblasted finish sits delicately within two metal pins creating a hieroglyphic composition that feels as if it were a prong setting welded or soldered over a stone. This collection is certainly beautiful and defines itself as jewelry within lighting, but does not have the same rare quality of Tess’ hand or Apparatus’ careful attention to craft. Still, this collection by Workstead serves as an example of how a sconce can appear like an earring or a pendant and can have the same details as a necklace.
Still not convinced? Well the Helix collection, represents objects with three-dimensional shapes, like that of a wire wound uniformly in a single layer, comparatively to a corkscrew or spiral staircase. This collection by Bec Brittain stands to neither here nor there. Bec is a self-taught, Brooklyn-based designer, who engineers the expressions of her very own ideas, much like Tess’ free-spirited sense of self that has developed the vibe behind Buffalo Bannon. The Helix collection by Bec Brittain, which frankly is hard to immediately understand, is unlike anything else on the market and has come to serve that lighting, normally taken for granted, can be just as expressive as any of the arts. The Helix Hanging comes with a stone counterweight, much like a pendant that would hang around one's neck. Available in the widest variety of finishes─with polished copper and black marble being my absolute favorite combination─and a price point starting at $6,900 for the short version. In addition to the various collections available through Bec Brittain, she has taken on site-specific challenges too─designing custom tailored pieces for clients, just as Buffalo Bannon will carry out your special order requests, developing for you a customized product that would not available to anyone else. The Helix collection is completely unique and truly feels like a pair of earrings, one slightly different than the other, that sway to and from the ceiling.