We’ve long been fans of lighting designer David Weeks beautiful lighting, having been smitten initially with his sculptural Lunette clip-on shades. On December 14th and 15th, Weeks will hold his annual sample sale, where you can buy samples and prototypes of some of his wonderful designs at steep discounts. We won’t be going. We checked out the wattage of the bulbs Weeks’ lights take: max 60 watts for many, and a dim 40 watts for the lovely Shell Sconce, above, as well as the Cement Standing Lamp and potentially-indespensible Pearson clip light,both below.
We don’t understand this dim-bulbism because, for us, good light — dimmable lighting that can be bright OR mellow when we need it — is the key to living and working happily in our space, showing it to its best advantage. Weeks isn’t the only lighting designer to use low wattage bulbs. We can’t tell you how many lights we’ve NOT bought because of their untenable dimness. So is the low-watt trend about design trumping utility (because the beautiful shade can’t take higher wattage?), or….er…saving energy?
Our first response is to wonder if we can hack lamps to make them able to take brighter bulbs, but we’ve been warned off that tack because of obvious — and not so obvious — dangers; we’d be playing with fire. The second thing we think is: Why don’t we design our own lighting? In order to do that, we’d have to learn how lighting and wiring really work, not to mention how to gauge how much heat a shade could really take (we’ve already learned about glass fiber paper).
Suddenly, images flashed in our head of the incredibly inventive and often impromtu lighting that sculptor Alexander Calder, creator of the mobile, fashioned. We’d seen pictures of several in Simplicity of Means: Calder and the Devised Object. One, as we remember, was made out of a pie tin for a friend who needed a light FAST. And then there’s this inspiring beauty:
Calder’s improvised lamps made us think: To hell with high-design lights with dim bulbs, and Weeks’ swell-but-ineffectual little clip light. We’ll figure out how to fulfill our lighting desires ourselves, in unexpected ways. Stay tuned!
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