THE MAKERS LIST : LIGHTEXTURE
I am Heather Bunker. A designer, branding genius, mom of 4 and DIY lover. This blog is a mix of business and fun - full of helpful tutorials, marketing insights and design inspiration!
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We tend to think of texture as something experienced tactilely, via our sense of touch. But lighting designers and architects learn to appreciate how light can be shaped and molded, crafted and arranged.
Avner Ben Natan developed this understanding while working on films and television shows as a lighting designer. One of his partners at the design firm lightexture — which creates custom lighting fixtures and sconces — is Yael Erel, a Cooper Union-trained architect. Oh, she also happens to be married to Avner and they have a young son. I loved talking with them and listening to the creativity just bounce between them.
The third member of the lightexture team is Sharan Elran, whose background in physics and software engineering is the foundation for the high-tech ceramic structures that give physical form to lightexture’s product line.
Their work could be considered artisanal industrial design. The creative flights of fancy of the three collaborators take precedence over production efficiency or chasing a mass-produced vibe. All their creations are small-batch handiworks made in their home-based workshop.
Yet their catalog is full of sleek and modern design. Their lights recall both the futurism of the 1950s — there’s an echo of The Jetsons when perusing their portfolio — while embracing the possibilities of LED lighting and 3d printers.
As an architect — currently, a lecturer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — Yael appreciates Avner’s ability to shape light within a specific physical space, how he can project light in a way that adds texture and drama to a room. With a focused use of light, a space can almost be redesigned on the fly.
Both Yael and Avner depend on Sharan to create elegant lighting fixtures that also live up to their utilitarian responsibilities — physical pieces that not only shape the light that is ultimately lightexture’s main ingredient, but are also safe and sturdy architectural elements when installed.
Yael explains that her inspiration for lightexture’s designs as being almost abstract, found-art flashes — for example, a moment noticing sunlight reflecting off a car onto a nearby wall. Moments that happen all the time but are generally not noticed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. She wants lightexture’s products to lead people to take a closer look at the things that are all around them.
With meditation and the “random inspiration” that often happens when focused on problem-solving, Avner finds a similar kind of sudden clarity. (This would be the place to insert a “light-bulb moment” joke).
The target market for lightexture is interior designers, homeowners who are renovating, and any individual or business that is looking to upgrade their lighting in a provocative and innovative way. Their work can be found in private homes and public spaces, including numerous hotels, restaurants, and retail spaces.
As small business owners, they share some of the struggles of any manufacturer. Consistent access to electrical parts — their raw material — is a particular challenge. Small parts that are vital might be discontinued by manufacturers or suffer from quality issues.
Though there is an artisanal element to lightexture, at the end of the day they are manufacturing a product line. One that is bold, innovative, and a joy to both look at and have shape what you’re looking at. Their art is designed to quietly insinuate itself into everyday moments. I hope to get my hands on a few soon. Perhaps for our new home.