Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lamps Last? I Think Not!!

I've spent over 30 years in the Interior Design industry; half of that specializing in lighting.  With the new year, I have decided it's time to speak out in defense of decorative fixtures made in the West!

Many of Lampworks' clients are residential designers who bring their clients in at the end of a project.  Although our designers try to convince the end-users that lighting is an important part of the overall scheme, some consumers think they can get away with inexpensive Chinese knock-offs. To make matter worse, there's little left in the budget.  Then, they apologize that their clients expect to find quality fixtures at Chinese prices!   Lampworks offers a beautiful assortment of original chandeliers made in the US, Canada, Italy, France and the Czech Republic.  Yes, they do cost more than Asian imports.  Here's why....

Our authentic Versaille style chandeliers
are true to the originals, wired safely and
will be the antiques of tomorrow!

  Chinese imports often have long lead-times because retailers cannot afford to stock large quantities.  We can fabricate every fixture to order.  The price is much lower because quality is poor.  We make everything by hand and stand behind the quality.  Instead of cast brass that's hand-finished, it's made in white metal and poorly finished and assembled.  They won't last very long, and like cheap costume jewelry the finish wears out quickly. Our fixtures will last forever.  In addition, they have minimal wattage capacity, the UL can be questionable, and more importantly the scale and proportion is not correct to the design it pretends to be.

This Versaille style chandelier found on the internet,
bears no resemblance to the classic design,
and the quality is questionable.

Surely everything, including the lighting, should be considered part of the overall design scheme.  Lighting is as important as the HVAC, the kitchen appliances, and the upholstery.  After all - if it isn't just right, we won't be comfortable.  The right lighting will affect how we read, use computers, watch television, eat, cook, entertain and distinguish the navy blue from the black suit in our closet! I remember growing up with beautiful, glass lamps at my parent's bedside, cast brass sconces in the living room and a crystal chandelier in the dining room that today sell as antiques and vintage pieces.  They were not fancy "designer" lights but quality, made-in-America products that served our family well for over fifty years, and were classically designed so they never went out of style.  Will anything we buy today be worth something tomorrow?  Are we only putting good money after bad?

One cannot notice that the world has changed, however, there will come a time when the economy will improve and there will be nothing to choose from but junk.  Small fabricators pride ourselves on offering the "antiques of tomorrow".

So - before you run into that big box store for just any old lamp, or take a chance on that crystal chandelier you found on the internet, consider that "good enough" ends up in yard sales.  Lighting is a quality "appliance" that should work well to fulfill a need and at the same time be a beautiful work of art that you will enjoy for a very long time to come.