Blown Away: Designer Lindsey Adelman hangs her glass shingle in NoHo
Lighting designer Lindsey Adelman found her new NoHo gallery space the old fashioned way—knocking on doors all along Bond and Great Jones streets until she located the ideal spot for her exquisitely rendered, handmade chandeliers, jewelry and home wares.
Though she could certainly afford to send someone in her stead, it’s not surprising that Adelman, whose clients include art and design world A-listers like Kara Walker and Peter Marino, did it herself. Disarmingly friendly, Adelman clearly loves her work, and relishes the opportunity to display it.
Open by appointment, the gallery allows clients to view her wide range of products: a mélange of natural shapes and hard angles in brass, hand-blown glass, porcelain, wood and hammered bronze. Since she’s subletting from the fine arts gallery One Great Jones, visitors will also get to see Robert Ryman and Cy Twombly prints.
“For years I’ve had clients coming directly to my Lower East Side studio, but we rarely had anything built and turned on. Clients would get very creative, picking up anything in arm’s reach and asking if we could turn it into a light,” Adelman laughs, adding that in her gallery, she’ll be showcasing “things we have already figured out how to make, in colors we know we can match.”
Among Adelman’s recent creations: voluptuous porcelain and leather chandeliers that look like sea creatures, elegant hand-blown glass vessels with brass stoppers cast from porcupine quills, mussel shell ashtrays electroplated in 18- karat gold and brass, and delicate gold and enamel jewelry.
Adelman worked at the Smithsonian Institution and in advertising and publishing before discovering industrial design. She earned a master’s degree at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she met her future husband, Ian, a glass blower who is now the director of digital design at The New York Times.
“I’m enthusiastic about a lot of creative disciplines, but I think that lighting is going to hold my attention forever,” Adelman says, citing designers Jean Prouvé, Achille Castiglioni and Gino Sarfatti as major influences. “They made things that look innocent in the way they’re constructed,” she says. “It’s straightforward, has personality and is very approachable.”
After working for a lighting company in Seattle, Adelman returned to New York and worked for designer David Weeks, with whom she partnered to create a line called Butter. In 2006, Adelman opened her own studio and now employs 16 people.
“It’s very empowering, because we can pretty much build anything we can imagine,” she says. Adelman’s intrepid nature created a bit of a stir in 2009, when she posted free instructions online detailing how to build and wire fixtures for her You Make It line.
“Friends told me it would kill my business, but it continues to be a delightful surprise, with people sending me emails that they’d made lights for wedding presents,” she says.
Though her days are long—spent hanging 14-globe chandeliers over the bathtubs of Manhattan moguls, poring over construction site details, going on photo shoots and confronting her dreaded email—one gets the sense Adelman wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I am a maker,” she says brightly. “Growing up, I was told I was making messes, which I still am.”
LIKE WHAT YOU'VE READ?
Subscribe to our blog below and be the first to read about the latest happenings, trends and more from the Miami Design District.