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Made in California: Gabriel Abraham's
industrial chic Atelier lights

January 22, 2010 |  7:32 am

Living in a historic R.M. Schindler apartment in Los Angeles may be architecturally desirable, but for designer Gabriel Abraham, it did have one drawback: "The walls and ceiling were made of plywood, so it was very hard to install lighting fixtures." Abraham found inspiration in a photograph of the Potence lamp that French modernist architect Jean Prouve designed in 1950 for his La Maison Tropicale, a prefab metal house design erected in the Congo. The Potence, which is nearly 7 feet long, has been reissued by Vitra and sells for $1,560.

Working on a more modest budget, Abraham crafted his own, smaller version of the wall-mounted swiveling lamp, shown in the Schindler apartment above. 

"Friends got to like it, so I started to make them as gifts and it caught on," Abraham says. 

Now he produces small quantities in Los Angeles. The bent-steel lamps are available in black, white, gray and a natural oil-rubbed finish with 3- or 4-foot arms ($375 and $450). He also builds custom sizes.

"The socket can accommodate a bulb up to 60 watts, but a lower wattage or Victorian style bulb is more pleasing," Abraham says.

LAMP 2 bis The designer also has created a desk lamp, right, likewise influenced by 1950s French industrial designs.

Made from a single piece of sheet metal, it is laser-cut and bent into its precise geometric shape. The $275 lamp uses a halogen bulb that can be set at two levels of brightness. 

Both lamps can be ordered in custom colors and are available at Lawson Fenning in Los Angeles and through Abraham's design blog, Atelier.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Gabriel Abraham