Decor Veritè: San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2015

Full disclosure: everything in this post is from the neophyte-eye view! As a first time attendee of a Decorator Showcase there was a lot to take in, consider, make snarky comments about, and make genuinely amazed comments about. I even got my Silent Auction joke shut down! A quick, verbal re-enactment:

 

“Would you like to know more about the Silent Auction?”

“Aren’t you breaking the rules of the Silent Auction right now?”

“Yeah, that’s not how Silent Auctions work.”

 

Even fuller disclosure: there may or may not be a Prince joke somewhere below. Still though, design aesthetics strike deeper than the cornea, and this year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase had much for the heart and mind, as well as the eyes, both keen and untrained.

 

The Showcase has a 38 year history full of gorgeous San Francisco vistas and progressive interior designs. This year’s Showcase house is located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, with four impressive floors of design flair. We kept an eye out for rad, unorthodox designs in lighting, and were not disappointed.

 

Phillip Silver’s Living Room on the Main Level showcases a ceiling pendant and a wall installation that shine with an organic sensibility. Evoking icy droplets on tree branches, the ceiling pendant has remarkable light splash, and a soft, cooling ambiance in daylight. The wall installation is composed of dozens of gold leaf clover shapes, with the light source emanating from above.

 

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I call him…Golden Boy!

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Major, major props to Cecilie Starin for putting together the edgiest, most stylistically striking room in the entire Showcase house, in my humble opinion. A fantastic, ringed ceiling fixture from NIDO Living illuminates the room. The fixture is composed of four burnished brass rings; the bottom two have LED strips shining on the bottom, while the top two emanate LED light from the top. This creates an impressive cast of light toward the ceiling, as well as the dining table the fixture hangs above. While we were clapping for the lighting, the patterned black and white murals  on the walls and the multi-colored spray paint can installations, both by artist Ian Ross via the Rocha Art gallery, popped the entire room into another stratosphere. The original mural is on 41 Freelon St., San Francisco.

 

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When I thought these were skateboard wheels, I was like yes! When I found out they were spray paint cans, I was like YES!

 

The upstairs adds to the variety of aesthetics, and showcases a more futurist flavor in lighting. In the Gentleman’s Private Lounge, we took in a postmodern lounge area, replete with a teal mannequin. Designed by Eche Martinez, who took inspiration for the concept from John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Samuel Jean de Pozzi, the room evokes the sensibilities of a 21st century gentleman. The ceiling pendant by Restoration Hardware gives the space a sturdy, modern-industrial feel, which is echoed by the Bubble Table Lamps by Sylvan and the teal-shaded sconces by The Urban Electric Co., albeit a bit more dreamily.

 

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Kid A has nothing on me.

 

The Pent Room, designed by Jeff Schlarb of Green Couch Design, embodies a sultry vision of a game room, accentuated with varying shades of mauve. Imagine if Prince called you up and asked you to design his pool room. I mean, imagine if Prince called you up period, that has to be a weird conversation. But even the Artist currently known as himself would have his eyes drawn above the pool table, littered with pool balls painted intricately with splashes of red, deep purple, black and mauve, where there hangs maybe the most interesting fixture in the house: a somewhat crocodilian skeleton with orange nostalgia lamps and burnished brass strands hanging from the indentations of vertebrae. Simply awesome.

 

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Like a Raspberry Beret in a Purple Rain

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Next, we descended the stairs to The Gallery, designed by Lizette Marie Interior Design. It is a wonderfully strange setting, atmospheric and decadent. The first thing you notice is the ceiling fixture, entitled “Golden Grip,” which consists of a series of gold-casted forearms gripping the long fixture’s canopy, nostalgia lamps oozing sepia-toned light below. I couldn’t decide whether it looked more like the inhabitants of utopia were holding up the light of discovery, or the citizens of dystopia were desperately reaching for the light of hope. Either way it was jarring, and amazing.

 

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The Showcase wouldn’t have been complete without a dash of Boyd in the mix. We have been rocking illuminative artistry for 94 years, and 2015 is fast becoming a symposium of design mastery. This is seen wonderfully in our new Alhambra Series, by designer Fiyel Levent. In one of the more affecting and lovely rooms at the Showcase, Tineke Triggs‘ En Vogue Salon, it is all verve. A stark portrait by Danielle Mourning above the luxurious bathtub places you in the sensuous center of the space, while Boyd’s Alhambra Sconces add that indefinable delicacy, glowing above the grand, waving designs of the black and white floor. You left feeling the designer had imbued a truly singular emotion to the space.

 

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The 2015 San Francisco Decorator’s showcase will be open until May 25th. Please take the time to check out all the work these wonderful artists have put in to this amazing spectacle!

Art Market San Francisco and Ken Fulk’s Battery Lounge

Last week we attended the opening party for Art Market San Francisco as the guests of San Francisco Cottages and Gardens. The event was held at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, the “VIP” line at the entrance was 500 deep, and as the sun was setting over the dramatic water front location I found myself wondering… how often can you cram thousands of people into a venue with limited parking and few windows, add lots of alcohol and precious art, and expect good behavior all around?

 

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Inside the scene was filled with disturbing sculptures of life size humanoids in gas masks, photos of bunnies swimming to stay alive in azure pools, surreal paintings of crumpled paper (that had to be seen from the side of the canvas to be disbelieved), panels of drilled layers of technicolored acrylic, matte board wall sculptures, ceramic dolls hung in rows all with missing arms…and that was just the art.

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The crowd was just as vivid.  The room was jammed to the gills with hipsters, artists, voyeurs and collectors of all ages and the dynamic was fascinating. I watched in amazement as a generously tattooed and pierced young woman in black lipstick admired a $46,000 sketch of some peppermint candies by Wayne Thiebaud.  A caftan clad octogenarian posed for a selfie in front of a cow tryptic.  Two deliberately coifed gentlemen groped each other while waiting at the bar for Negronis.  I could go on but you catch my drift…a very San Francisco crowd.

 

 

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We stayed until the room became unbearably warm then we stepped outside to join the intimate group of several hundred others to admire the perfect San Francisco view of Alcatraz Island in the twilight…and moved on.

 

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We were told that the party was supposed to continue at the Ken Fulk designed Battery Lounge, but when we arrived there looking for our hosts we were nearly turned away at the door.  A very reasonable young man (guard?) behind an imposing front desk had no idea what we were talking about, but when we produced an invitation, he consulted with the coat-check dude and reluctantly let us pass.  We went immediately upstairs to admire the room plaques we at Boyd had made to Ken’s specifications, and in situ they were beautiful.  But creeping around hallways and taking pictures of door jambs is discouraged in private clubs, and we began to elicit the cocked eyebrows of the unamused.

 

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After we found ourselves downstairs in the main bar, and then found ourselves some cocktails, (served with ridiculously P.C. cocktail napkins), we ordered ridiculously expensive smaller-than-a-burger-bigger-than-a-sliders and ridiculously delicious French fries. That’s when I had my second revelation of the evening. Viewing all that art with all those people against the backdrop of a city I love had made me ridiculously hungry.

Boyd Designer Tom Nahabedian Wins a James Beard Award!

When good things happen to good people all’s right with the world.  Monday night that adage came true when beloved Boyd designer, Tom Nahabedian and his business partner, James Gorski, in the Chicago firm of Bureau of Architecture and Design, brought home a James Beard award in the category of Outstanding Restaurant Design (75 seats and under).  The James Beard Awards which are usually held in New York City, took place at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago this year, an intriguing presage to the firm’s nomination and subsequent win.  The lauded space, River North restaurant Brindille, is operated by Tom’s brother, restauranteur Michael Nahabedian and cousin, Chef Carrie Nahabedian. Brindille is the sister restaurant to Michelin- starred Naha which is owned and operated by the same group.

 

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From Left to Right – Michael, Carrie, and Tom Nahabedian

 

As you may all know by now, Mr. Nahabedian is the designer of the dramatic and popular Icicle Series of fixtures for Boyd Lighting, which includes pendants and sconces in gorgeous Boyd finishes and state-of-the-art LED lamping.

 

Congratulations Tom!! We are honored to be working with you!

California Energy Legislation and You

Cstate-of-california-with-bear-hialifornia is an interesting place to call home.  Our state prides itself on being at the forefront of conservation legislation, and with a population of 38 million people and limited resources, you can understand why.  But there is a drawback; the seemingly non-stop pioneering of energy, water, and air standards can be quite confusing to the general public.

 

Take lighting for example.  Title 20 and Title 24 lead the way in lighting efficiency for our state.  Years ago, California was the first to adopt these stringent new energy laws, which essentially began the staged phase-out of standard light bulbs.  The rest of America has followed suit, and as a result, in the near future only 25 watt or lower incandescent bulbs will be available for purchase. Ultimately even stricter legislation will kick in banning incandescent bulbs altogether.

 

But to avoid confusion, let’s focus only on California. Because LED lighting is the new frontier in the illumination universe, the California Energy Commission wants mass consumer acceptance of LEDs, and they want this to happen sooner than later. The intent is to set strict standards for color temperature, color rendering index (CRI), and power efficiency now, so that the final product appeals to the end user during these so-called early days.  If you are old enough to remember the early days of fluorescent lighting, you might recall flickering bluish light sources with an annoying audible buzz.  It can be argued that even though fluorescent lamping actually improved, for some people their early negative impressions forever tainted their perceptions of fluorescent lamping.  That is what this legislation is trying to prevent; and early bad impression of LEDs.

 

How does this affect your purchase of a BOYD lighting product in California?

 

Title 20 requires that we provide high-efficacy bulbs with each table and floor lamp that ship into the state, so we’ll be providing a more efficient bulb for you.

 

Title 24 requires that lighting fixtures be wired in conjunction with dimmers or occupancy sensors, and the client must balance the use of any low-efficacy lighting with high-efficacy sources. So for “permitted” residential applications, this legislation puts a tad more onus on the end user.  There’s a twist, however, Title 24 has different requirements for different rooms.  I won’t get too specific, but a kitchen can use much more lighting than a bathroom.  It all comes down to wattage, so if you have a remodel or renovation on the horizon, (especially if you live in California) speak with a lighting professional to assure that the process is a smooth and pleasant one.

Carpe Design!

My motto has always been “Carpe Diem” (“Seize the Day”), which to me means take time to smell the smells, laugh out loud until it makes you cry, love all the good people, eat and drink with friends often, swim at every opportunity, and travel as much as possible….oh!… and that live in the moment thing.  But I’ve realized lately that I’ve become lazy and that maybe I need to put specific parameters on what will qualify as “Carpe Diem-ing” for the rest of my life.  So I’ve decided that I’m going to try something new every single day that makes me uncomfortable…in a good way.

 

I plan to test out my current resolve on our “new” fixer-upper once we navigate the vagaries of the permitting process.  I’ve been looking at paint colors, tile samples, window details, marble slabs, bathroom fixtures, and kitchen sinks etc., and my choices this time around will not be conventional. If it doesn’t make me uncomfortable – or make me laugh – it’s not going in my new house.

 

“Building a nest” – in my case “decorating” would be a euphemism for what actually happens – will be fun; a whimsy–filled experience that makes me happy!  If I can get beyond the contractor issues, the cost of Sheetrock, the angry neighbors and the too tight budget, I should be home free.  All the shelter magazines are full of “fun” interiors; bright chairs, unconventional light fixtures, blurred lines between indoor and outdoor space, ridiculous bathtubs, furry couches and sublime art. This May, Architectural Digest, arguably the last bastion of urbane good taste, features a mash-up of avocado shag and playful puce sofas in stylist Carlos Motta’s Manhattan apartment…he’s clearly a man who understands a fun interior and an unconventional choice! So anything goes right?!

 

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At Boyd Lighting we’ve always aimed for drama, beauty, design gravitas…but even here we’ve caught the “fun” bug and are lightening up.  Look at the Icicle Pendants with dancing colored cords and soft spiked glass…or the Topanga family with 96 possible combinations of wood, shagreen and metal…or the bright glass in Orange or Turquoise of the gorgeous Grasse sconce…or the swirling curlicues of the Alhambra series…all are a light-hearted designer’s dream.  Our latest fixtures are unexpected, exciting and fun and over the next two quarters our new pieces will push the bounds of conventional design!

 

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Grasse in Turquoise

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Grasse in Orange

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Alhambra Table Lamp

 

 

In March I fell in love with and purchased a 3’x4’ painting in bright turquoise and hot red framed by an over-the-top ornate silver frame…of the Virgin Mary.  I think she’s going to go over the tub in the master bath, but I haven’t shown it to my husband yet.  I didn’t get a consensus vote, and it made me uncomfortable in a good way. But that was two weeks ago and I’ve barely recovered.

 

 

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Virgin Mary in Turquoise and Red

 

Now I’m coveting a ridiculous, over-the-top armchair I have no room for anywhere.  It is covered in lovely, deep curly sheep skin, and I am determined to find a place to put it, (in my kitchen?), even if it doesn’t make sense.  I’m getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, so for now I’ve revised my motto:  Carpe Design!

 

Boyd Bracket 2015: Some Chalk & Plenty of Shock!

First off, no one is an expert at picking NCAA tournament games. March Madness is a moniker both deserved and long-validated by, well, madness. Nova over Georgetown in ’85, Duke taking out undefeated UNLV in ’91, C-Webb calling the timeout that didn’t exist against UNC. More recently, we’ve had Duke shown the door by 14 seed Mercer, and Georgetown (more to come this year for the Hoyas as well) losing as a 2 seed to something called Florida Gulf Coast.

 

This year the storyline is one of Goliath: Kentucky, undefeated at 30-0, enters the tournament seeking the end chapter to a perfect season. Kentucky’s head coach John Calipari is often maligned for building a program that focuses on NBA-ready talent, high school superstars who, after a rule change requiring NBA draftees be at least 19 years old, attend college for a one year apprenticeship in basketball. Kentucky has sent a veritable who’s who list of stars to the NBA after one season, including all-world players like John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, and Anthony Davis.

 

 

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Calipari pointing to future NBA lottery picks

 

This year though is different. After a somewhat unexpected run to the Championship Game in 2014, Kentucky has returned three starters, including Junior center Willie Cauley-Stein, and Sophomore twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison in the backcourt. Still loaded with freshman talent, including Carl-Anthony Towns (a possible top pick in this year’s NBA draft) and Trey Lyles in the starting five, Kentucky is less a team built on one-and-done’s, and more a team that simply has every conceivable box checked. Tournament experience, shocking height and length on defense, ridiculous talent off the bench, and possibly the best offensive and defensive players in the country (Towns and Cauley-Stein, respectively).

 

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Cauley-Stein = erasure

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Towns = rim punishment

 

Everyone knows about Kentucky, but there will be challengers, and plenty of upsets in this year’s tournament.

 

Biggest upsets

 

Georgia St. (14) over Baylor (3)

 

Nobody is taking this. But we believe in Kevin Ware. In 2013, Ware suffered one of the most gruesome leg injuries ever seen in a basketball game playing for Louisville, the eventual NCAA Champions that year. Ware has come back, reshirting the next year to recover and transferring from Louisville to Georgia St. Ware was the MVP of the Sun Belt Conference tournament this year, and it’s just too good of a redemption story to pass up.

 

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Return of the mack!

 

 

Buffalo (12) over West Virginia (5)

 

Everybody is taking this, and for good reason! Buffalo is coached by former Duke legend Bobby Hurley, and his team takes care of the ball. This is important because WVU is a team that presses, forces turnovers, and scores off of those turnovers. Buffalo has the MAC Player of the Year in Justin Moss, and without turnovers West Virginia’s offense will struggle. Book it.

 

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We call this the “See my leggings? They’s pretty huh?”

 

Deepest runs by unexpected teams

 

Utah

 

Utah will pull off upsets over both Georgetown (not really an upset, but seed-wise, sure) and Duke in consecutive rounds. Watch out for Delon Wright, former City College of San Francisco star and younger brother of former Golden State Warrior Dorrelll Wright, he could have a star-making turn in this year’s tourney.

 

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I got more hops than Dorrell, he knows it too

 

SMU

 

Same bracket as Utah, the wild wild South, and also the bane of Utah in the Elite Eight. SMU is coached by maybe the best basketball coach in history, Larry Brown, the only head coach to win NCAA and NBA championships (with Kansas and the Detroit Pistons). SMU also holds teams under forty percent from the field, and it’s real test will be against Iowa St. in the second round. Coaching matters more in college, and we’ll take Larry Brown vs. the field, until they reach the Final Four.

 

Final Four

 

Kentucky (1) over Arizona (2)

 

In a battle of NBA talent factories, Kentucky has the experience, the better coach, AND the better talent. Look for Kentucky’s defense to manhandle the young Wildcats and win easily.

 

Virginia (2) over SMU (6)

 

In a battle of slow-paced, low-scoring, beat-em-up grind teams, Virginia’s length and talent will win out. If Justin Anderson is right, the Cavaliers will make this a blowout.

 

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If I’m right? Take a walk Boyd Lighting

 

 

Championship

 

Kentucky (1) over Virginia (2)

 

Virginia is the poor person’s Kentucky. Long, talented, suffocating defense, well-coached. Trouble is, Kentucky is better at all of those things, particularly the length and talent. Watch for a close tight game in the first half, with Carl-Anthony Towns and the Harrison twins taking control on offense in the second half, breaking down Virginia’s elite defense and stretching this out to a double-figure win.

 

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

As the most heavily immigrated-to port on the west coast during the late 19th  and early 20th centuries, the San Francisco Bay Area has a long and storied history of immigrant culture. During the California gold rush, many early immigrants made the voyage to the United States from China, crossing the Pacific and arriving at the Port of San Francisco. In 1848, the Chinese populace in San Francisco founded the first Chinatown in North America, and today it remains the oldest Chinatown on the continent.

 

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Since those early years of San Francisco’s establishment, the Chinese community has remained one of the most vibrant ethno-cultural communities in the Bay Area. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the most populous Chinese community outside of Asia, and for more than a century and a half, Chinese customs, food and culture have become a key part of the diverse cultural landscape of San Francisco. Of all the aspects of Chinese custom and culture to flourish in our fair city, the celebration of Chinese New Year is undoubtedly the grandest.

 

Chinese legend tells of an ancient monster called Nian, a beast that would ravage the villages of ancient China every New Year. In order to stop Nian from feasting on farms, animals, and the people themselves, villagers began placing food in front of their homes as an offering to Nian, but it is Nian’s fear of firecrackers and the color red that are at the root of the colorful New Year’s festivities.  If you are lucky enough to experience the Chinese New Year’s parade in San Francisco you will experience firsthand the lighting of fireworks and firecrackers, and the pervasive, and elaborate uses of the color red.

 

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With a Californian history reaching all the way back to those early days of San Francisco gold fever, San Francisco’s Chinese New Year celebration is the largest Asian cultural event in North America, and the biggest “general market event” in all of Northern California. Included in SF’s Chinese New Year festivities are the annual Chinese New Year Flower Fair (which wrapped over Valentine’s Day weekend) and Chinatown Community Street Fair (March 7-8). The climactic Chinese New Year Parade will be held on Saturday, March 7th at 5:15pm. This year’s theme for the parade is the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Goat Ram, which are emblematic of creativity and artistry. If you were born in 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, or by some miracle you are an infant genius reading this blog piece and born in the year 2015, this year’s Chinese New Year Parade will hold special significance!

 

Check out San Francisco Chinatown’s website for more information on the Community Street Fair and New Year Parade, including a detailed map of the parade route.

 

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Q1 Launch – You Must Defeat our Dragon Punch to Stand a Chance

In times of great crisis, the world looks for a hero. Boyd Lighting has found three in Fiyel Levent, Jamie Drake, and Doyle Crosby.

 

Our all-star lineup of Q1 designers has helped Boyd roll out one of the most ambitious product launches in recent memory, with six distinct fixtures, including four portable lamps that redefine our idea of interior lighting aesthetics.

 

The Alhambra Series, designed by acclaimed designer Fiyel Levent, is the flagship of our Q1 launch, with two wall sconces, the square 12” x 12” and a taller 18”, and the Alhambra table lamp. The intricate design of the Alhambra fixtures incorporates modern fabrication techniques with ancient motifs inspired by Central Asian and Islamic architecture.

 

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Fiyel Levent

 

Seen below in situ, one notices the gorgeous inscriptions on creamy white plates, creating an opaque and delicately rendered pattern of light.

 

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Alhambra 18″ Installation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Illuminate much?

 

 

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Alhambra table lamp, bedside table

 

Resident guru of rad-ness, Jamie Drake, has expanded his scintillating Topanga Series with the new Topanga Petite Table Lamp. The elegant, luxurious design of previous iterations of the Topanga, like Boyd’s Two-Tier and 8-Arm Chandeliers, has been redeployed into a smaller, sleek portable lamp that maintains the grandeur of the Topanga line of fixtures.

 

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Jamie Drake

 

How do you define versatility and grace? With brilliant options in shade (finished metal and white linen), metal finish (six variations of brass and nickel), and the signature hub of the Topanga, which boasts three wood options (natural maple & walnut, grey cerused oak) and five colors of shagreen, including peony! PEONY. Yes, the sound you just heard was Boyd dropping the mic.

 

Observe the variety of detail shots that illuminate the Topanga Petite’s liquid-fantastic vibe!

 

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Topanga Petite Table Lamp

 

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Linen shade, chocolate shagreen

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Polished nickel shade, natural walnut

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Three words: PE – O – NY!

 

Like gunslingers of old, Doyle Crosby is nothing if not consistent. This consistency, creating trend-defining fixtures year-in and year-out as Boyd’s in-house designer, might overshadow just how ahead of the curve his artistic sensibilities are. No longer.

 

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Doyle Crosby

 

Perhaps the most ambitious fixtures in our Q1 launch are Crosby’s Abacus and Bauhaus Table Lamps. These require a triple-take. Then some thought, some daydreaming. And then a few more mental pictures. Meanwhile, each sets a new standard for post-modern lighting design.

 

The Bauhaus Table Lamp – evocative of Bauhaus architecture – sits atop a square base and resembles stacked blocks (or wooden “windows”) partitioned by metal.  The Bauhaus blends modernism and mid-century sophistication flawlessly, introducing Boyd’s new, silver cerused oak finish with a flourish.

 

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Bauhaus in situ

 

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Silver cerused oak…much like the Elven craftsmen of Middle-Earth use

 

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Bauhaus Table Lamp

 

The Abacus’ calling card is a base of stacked rounded wooden discs separated by beautiful metal spacers; it is an elegant interpretation of its namesake. The first fixture to feature Boyd’s gold cerused oak finish, the Abacus’ treads the borders between mystery and understanding. One moment you think you’ve got it, the next you return to square one.

 

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Abacus Table Lamp

 

Abacus Detail

Abacus detail

 

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mmm, this room smells of rich mahogany

 

Boyd Lighting’s 2015 is a year of redefinition, and it’s only beginning. Check out all of the new products on Boyd’s homepage, and stay tuned for our Q2 launch, coming in spring. We’ve only just begun.

Psssst…Q1 Launch Preview, Boyd Pulls Back the Curtain on 2015

In case you were looking for redefinition in the doldrums of winter-spring, Boyd Lighting has it in spades! Take a gander at a few of our soon-to-be-launched 2015 portables.

 

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Fiyel Levent’s Alhambra Table Lamp, part of the exquisite Alhambra Series that includes two sizes of wall sconces!

 

 

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The Bauhaus Table lamp by our very own Doyle Crosby. Note the Silver Cerused Oak finish, and stay tuned for its sister fixture, the Abacus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Topanga Series goes portable! Jamie Drake’s gorgeous set of fixtures adds the Topanga Petite Table lamp to its lineup!

 

Next week, see our full slate of Q1 Launches, as Boyd Lighting’s gears up for a memorable, luminous 2015!

When the Lights Go Up in the City

In the months leading up to the winter solstice, the days grow shorter. To accompany the longer, colder nights, the lights have gone up in our fair city! San Francisco and its surrounding environs are a hotbed of holiday lighting displays, from public monuments to private homes, and we at Boyd Lighting would like to take a moment to celebrate the collaborative holiday illumination of the Bay Area.

 

The historical significance of Union Square is grand: built by the now eponymous first mayor of San Francisco, John Geary, the square was initially constructed to honor the Union Army in the mid-19th century. It is home to memorials as old as the Dewey Monument, circa 1905, and public art as new as the Hearts in San Francisco installations, sculptures auctioned off and renewed every year since 2009. As the central hub of San Francisco, Union Square is also home to the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a brilliant tradition reignited just two weeks ago.

 

 

Christmas tree on Union Square at night. San Francisco, California, USA

 

 

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While the Embarcadero matches Union Square in history, it surpasses it in evolution. San Francisco’s waterfront and center of trade for over a century, the Embarcadero has had many incarnations. From bustling, turn of the century seaport to military hub in the Pacific Theater of WW II, from freeway partition between city and sea to rebuilt modern boulevard following the ’89 earthquake, the Embarcadero is one of the most beautiful and transitional of San Francisco’s landmarks. The Embarcadero Center’s holiday lighting ceremony overlooks an open-air ice rink, and is remarkable for the way the glowing outline of each building accentuates the San Francisco skyline.

 

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Not to be outdone by their more stationary cousins, San Francisco’s more quaint transit venues also enjoy adding their own spark in the Holiday Season. The Sausalito On The Waterfront Foundation, not two miles from Boyd Lighting headquarters, holds an annual Lighted Yacht Parade, where over 50 decorated boats tour the Sausalito Waterfront. San Francisco’s Classic Cable Car chartered tours depart from Fisherman’s Wharf, where sightseers get to take in all of the city’s lights and holiday vistas aboard gorgeous, Yuletide decorated Cable Cars!

 

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I’ve left maybe the most glorious, awe-inspiring lighting display in the Bay Area for last… and not without reason. Nearly two years ago, the Bay Bridge was illuminated like never before. The Bay Lights, as the project has come to be called, is already a Bay Area classic. Twenty five thousand LEDs, individually programmed to shine rhythmically through the night, decorate the suspension cables on the two mile western span of the Bay Bridge, stretching from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco. A study in scale and an opus of light, the Bay Lights stretch 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high at their peak.

 

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Under the auspices of the Illuminate The Arts non-profit, this massive public art installation was designed by Leo Villareal, a nationally recognized artist famed for large-scale light sculptures including public LED installations in Madison Square Park, NY, and the National Gallery of Art’s Concourse in Washington, DC.

 

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Yet this magnificent sight is not a perpetual gift to the public. The Bay Lights have been funded only for a two-year span, which will end this March, 2015. In the spirit of giving that is the core of our brilliantly lit holiday season here in the Bay Area, please take the time to donate to the Illuminate the Arts homepage to keep the Bay Bridge lit past 2015 and beyond!

 

As 2014 comes to a close, Boyd Lighting wants to wish everyone a very happy, well-lit, and artfully designed holiday season!