Interior designer Wendy Umanoff likes to combine modern furniture with antique pieces. She takes this same penchant for juxtaposition (can I call it contra-historical bricolage?) and applies it to lighting design. The result is a series of one-of-a-kind fixtures that are “outside of the traditional experience, although they contain traditional elements.” Umanoff’s lights look like relics you might discover in an archeological dig—if your field site were a series of flea markets and scrap yards (and I say that with all due respect).
Vintage Birdcage Lantern. Designed by Wendy Umanoff.
Lighting with Repurposed Parts
Umanoff’s philosophy of “using familiar objects in unfamiliar ways” is evident in her lighting design. One floor lamp uses light bulbs mounted on the steps of an antique wooden ladder, which creates an unusual display space for objects. Another floor lamp incorporates an old tripod—and this creates a wondrous feeling of defamiliarization, because the light above the tripod recalls a camera’s flash.
Suspension lamps include designs with antique wire fruit baskets and old metal birdcages. Umanoff incorporates objects that have their own aura: abandoned wheel wells that summon bygone travels; funnels that evoke home cooked meals; and metal pulleys that recall forgotten factories. Umanoff wants light to create “an experience that inspires,” and her series of lamps does exactly that with their nostalgia-laden pieces.
About the Designer: Trained as an artist, Wendy Umanoff works as an interior designer. She also designs custom lighting from salvaged pieces. Both her interior and lighting work use interesting elements of differing styles and periods: “Another element in achieving the essence of Wendy's design philosophy is the juxtaposition of beautiful antiques with the elegant sleek lines of modern design.” With an interest in sculpture and color, Umanoff is able to translate her BFA from Parsons into unique room compositions.