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Matt Gagnon and his Prototype lamps light up the NoHo Design District

May 18, 2011 |  7:11 am

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For the young and crafty like Matt Gagnon, above, Brooklyn had been the center of the universe during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the modern design show that anchors New York Design Week. But now all the action has moved to Manhattan's NoHo, the North of Houston neighborhood that hosted a number of events and exhibitions last week showcasing work from Brooklyn to Berlin.

Furniture at the NoHo Design District exhibitions looked familiar and fatigued: Some concept pieces took designers too long to explain, and uncomfortable metal and plywood cube chairs caused one onlooker to remark, "These designers are the children of Donald Judd."

Lighting designs, however, were a bright spot.

IMG_8763Los Angeles craftsman Matt Gagnon took over the front window of the NoHo branch of Future Perfect, the Brooklyn store that has long advanced both local and international design.

Gagnon and his assistants put on a show, cranking out about 40 Prototype pendant lamps made from fibers wound around metal armatures.

"It's part of my ongoing obsession with wrapping things," said Gagnon, who designed 18 components that can be configured in seemingly endless ways to create the frame for the pendants. The frames are wrapped in materials such as clear plastic surgical tubing, cotton rope or silk thread.

"Because the aerospace industry in Los Angeles has fallen off, they're happy to deal with weirdoes like me," he said, referring to aerospace fabricators that make the components for his lighting.

The lamps sell for $600 each at Future Perfect. Keep reading to see the lights of Lindsey Adelman, Omer Arbel and Roman & Williams, all displayed in the NoHo Design District.

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Omer Arbel of the Canadian firm Bocci shows his Series 28 luminary in an unlikely location, strung above the lot of the Downtown Auto Center, a working car body shop.

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In a show called "McMasterpieces," artists were invited to craft furniture made entirely from parts and raw materials from industrial supplier McMaster-Carr. Roman & Williams, a buildings and interiors firm that designed the Royalton, Standard and Ace hotels in New York, put a luxury steampunk spin on a pharmacy-style desk lamp.

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At the American Design Building, glass artist Lindsey Adelman showed off Burst, shown in detail here, a chandelier with hand-blown glass spikes and industrial metal parts.

MORE DESIGN SHOW COVERAGE:

Plywood Office's Hammy hammock

Milan: World's top furniture designers premiere 2011 collections

-- David A. Keeps reporting from New York

Photo credits: David A. Keeps

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