Most of us know them as New York City's most hated residents. Alexandra Randall calls them a light fixture.
The Rat Lamp, as the name suggests, is a cluster of rats (stuffed, thankfully) clawing fiendishly to a bulb as if it were the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It's probably the sickest and oddly, one of the prettiest, objects to debut at New York Design Week. On view May 15 to 18, it'll show alongside work from Paul Loebach and Lindsey Adelman at the Future Perfect Great Jones in Manhattan. That show is part of an upstart attempt to create an entirely new design district in Manhattan: The Noho Design District, organized by Monica Khemsurov and our own Jill Singer.
Randall is a designer based in the U.K. She studied sculpture and creative writing, before turning her hand to the (ostensibly more lucrative) field of one-off lighting. She has rammed lightbulbs into the mouths of ducks, pigeons, squirrels — pretty much anything dead with fur or feathers. But this isn't the twee crap of Victorian taxidermy (or of every "authentic" burger joint in the West Village). The fixtures deal in "the memory of everyday objects." Some, like the Rat Lamp and the Squirrel Wall Lights (below), are actually pretty poetic.
Adelman delivers more in the whimsical lighting category. The New York designer is a chandelier-producing machine who has generously made her work available to the masses, as we reported before. Here, she redoubles her signature Bubble collection, throwing a bunch of stuff onto glass bulbs hand-crafted by the artist Nancy Callan. That's a cluster chandelier below with knotted, hand-dyed rope and cast-bronze hardware festooning the globes, which Callan made using a complex Italian glassblowing technique called zanfirico.
Also at Future Perfect: gold-framed mirrors by Loebach, a product and furniture designer in New York City. These are not your grandmother's frames. They come in all sorts of off-kilter shapes: a skewed diamond, a podium, a rectangle with the corners sawed off.
The collection was something of a rescue mission. Loebach drew from the stock of an antique framing company that once produced woodwork for some of the world's most valuable paintings, but now verges on collapse thanks to tastes shifting inexorably toward unframed modern art. So he reappropriated a bunch of 18th- and 19th-century frames — imperfections and all — and turned them into something that could, itself, pass for modern art. Or at least really sweet design.