In late February, Head Hi, a Fort Greene shop run by artists Alexandra Hodkowski and Alvaro Alcocer, opened its third annual lamp show. The premise is straightforward: Artists submit especially unusual lamp designs (bulbs concealed in wheels of Parmesan, for instance), the owners’ favorites are accepted, then they are shown and sold at the shop and on its site. The first two years were fairly quiet, says Hodkowski — many of the entries came from their friends. This year, unexpectedly, more than a hundred ideas for lamps arrived: “Submissions were trickling in for a couple weeks. But then suddenly, the day after the submission deadline passed, we woke up and there were 111 from designers around the world.” They winnowed it down to 50 lamps, all of which are currently on display and for sale, including Franc Palaia’s blender with a lightbulb in place of blades (seen above, $250) and a nightlight that looks like a small house on fire. Here, a few more of our favorites.
Jake Coan, a lighting designer, typically uses bamboo to make large-scale ceiling lights, but he scaled things down this year to form a single crumbled leaf out of rice paper from Pearl River Mart in Soho. “It’s inspired by suiseki, the display of ornamental rocks, as well as ikebana. One line, one leaf — that’s enough to be a centerpiece.”
Laila Lott, a designer and jeweler, grew up attending Coptic Orthodox church services with her family, and this lamp is inspired by the smoke rituals she saw there. It’s made of wood and ceramic tiles with a salvaged church bulb in the center.
This is part of an ongoing series by Ryan Patrick Martin, a Ridgewood-based painter and sculptor. “It was tricky,” he says. “At first, the base was a solid purple and the ball was a darker blue, but I tend to overwork things until they get loud and crazy. That happened here when I poured on the blood-orange epoxy resin.”
Father and stepson designers Samuel Lambert and Darius Laprise made the strips of aluminum needed for this lamp “like pasta — we extruded it.” They didn’t initially intend to call it Elephant, but once they noticed the similarities, “we decided to give a little animated, playful name to an otherwise kind of cold, static object.”
Mexican design studio Bestia only uses raw materials. The rock that serves as the base of this lamp, for instance, was sourced from a volcano on the outskirts of Mexico City.
This lamp, made of wood with a faux-marble finish, is one of designer Jeremy Gecker’s first dabbles in lighting. It’s remote-controlled, so it’s possible to change the head’s hue from blue to purple to yellow to red.
“A hard day’s work is over when the socks come off,” says prop stylist and set designer Selena Liu. “So this light is my ode to the beautiful sensation of taking one’s gross socks off.” It is constructed from soldered steel and rice paper.
“We wanted to examine the feeling of being drawn into, but still repelled by, watching something burn,” says Rhonda Weppler, a Canadian artist who created this with her partner, Richard Winchell. The house is made of cardboard and wood, and the flames are tiny LEDs.
“We wanted to do something a little grotesque and also a little funny,” says Cole Bennett, who owns a bicycle-fabrication facility. He and his girlfriend, public defender Grayson Bland, made this ceramic piece depicting a naked man standing in a tub filled with gold coins. Regarding the especially high price point: “Look at the prices in the art world right now. Who’s to say that it isn’t worth that?”
Jimmy Mezei, a Canadian multidisciplinary artist, made this with a kiln he found on Craigslist early in the pandemic. He had initially planned to make a light in the shape of a shuttlecock but couldn’t get it to work technically, so he reformed the clay into a banana and glazed it yellow.