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10 Easy Pieces: Architects’ Favorite Modern Surface-Mount Fixtures


10 Easy Pieces: Architects’ Favorite Modern Surface-Mount Fixtures

July 5, 2023

Struggling with your lighting scenario? We can sympathize; flattering overhead lighting is a challenge. If you’re not a fan of the pockmarked ceiling effect you end up with when you install recessed lighting, here are 10 can’t-go-wrong modern surface-mounted fixtures, courtesy of the members of the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory.

when designer jayne michaels of \2michaels in new york set out to renovate her  14
Above: When designer Jayne Michaels of 2Michaels in New York set out to renovate her 1972 Joe D’Urso-designed home in East Hampton, she was careful to source the right lighting for a space where “the details are modern, elegant, and deceptively simple.” She chose Teti Ceiling Light, a 1967 Vico Magistretti design. “The sinuous yet subtle lines work on lower ceilings and on walls that need a bit of a punch, but without overshadowing the room. It’s a masterpiece,” she says. Made in Italy, the light is $130 at Lumens.
sf designer nicole hollis chose the jackson surface mount fixture from the 15
Above: SF designer Nicole Hollis chose the Jackson Surface-Mount Fixture from the Urban Electric Co. for its sculptural shape and oversize scale (it’s 14 inches wide). It’s made by hand in Charleston, South Carolina, and Hollis reports that “the craftsmanship at this company is impeccable.” Available in several finishes, pricing starts at $2,318.
dave swetz of butler armsden architects in san francisco likes the link lightin 16
Above: Dave Swetz of Butler Armsden Architects in San Francisco likes the Link lighting system from Spanish company Vibia, which connects any number of ambient rectangular lights for a wide array of combinations. “I love this product for its endless arrangements, interesting configurations, and that fact that it is like Legos for your ceiling,” he says. A Link Square Flush Mount is $2,250 at 2Modern.
says nyc architect lauren rubin, &#8\2\20;for a simple, less decorativ 17
Above: Says NYC architect Lauren Rubin, “For a simple, less decorative fixture that looks good everywhere, we use the Lucciola surface mount by Vistosi. It is a flattened ball that is clean and beautiful and complements every room.” Made in Italy, the Lucciola PP 27 Wall & Ceiling Light is $378 to $736 at Lumens.
an affordable pick from architect lauren rubin is the philips lightolier slim s 18
Above: An affordable pick from architect Lauren Rubin is the Philips Lightolier Slim Surface LED downlight, which “has the look of recessed lighting but is actually surface mounted and only 5/8-inch deep,” she says. “Its clean profile blends in with the ceiling.” Available in multiple colors, shapes, and sizes, Rubin prefers the four-inch square in white; $55.69 on Amazon.
the flos glo ball by jasper morrison is the favorite of architect jon handley o 19
Above: The FLOS Glo-Ball by Jasper Morrison is the favorite of architect Jon Handley of Pulltab Design in NYC; he calls it “a perfect balance of function and aesthetics; it’s super nicely crafted, and when on a dimmer it gives the option for very bright light or a soft glow like a welcoming moon at night.” Says architect Ian Read of Medium Plenty near San Francisco, “I’m a sucker for the FLOS Glo-Ball; Jasper Morrison always kills it, and they are just fun.” The Glo-Ball C/W Zero Wall & Ceiling Light is $535 at Lumens.
handley also likes the aj eklipta by arne jacobsen, calling it &#8\2\20;a t 20
Above: Handley also likes the AJ Eklipta by Arne Jacobsen, calling it “a timeless design and beautifully crafted—from the great people at Louis Poulsen.” Made in Denmark of powder-coated aluminum and handblown glass, the medium size (suitable for ceilings) is $664 to $1,780 at Lumens.
amy courtney from fearins & welch interior design (a practice of cwb archit 21
Above: Amy Courtney from Fearins & Welch Interior Design (a practice of CWB Architects) chose the Mezzo from CTO Lighting for being “simple, versatile, and classic.” It features an opal glass shade with a base in either polished nickel (shown) or satin brass.
we included the alabax pendant light from schoolhouse electric in the &#8\2 22
Above: We included the Alabax Pendant Light from Schoolhouse Electric in the “Remodelista 100” chapter of our first book, Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home. Made in Portland, Oregon, the fixture is $199.
says ian read of medium plenty, &#8\2\20;there is always &#8\2\16;mr. c 23
Above: Says Ian Read of Medium Plenty, “There is always ‘Mr. Cheap’—the porcelain socket we’ve shamelessly used several times.” (Read more in Object Lessons: The Hardware Store Porcelain Light Socket.) The Leviton Porcelain Keyless Lampholder is $2.94 at the Home Depot.

For more architect expertise, see Paint Colors with Cult Followings: 10 Picks from the Remodelista Architect & Designer Directory, and 10 Architects’ Tricks for Creating a European-Inspired Interior.

N.B.: This post was originally published on July 6, 2016. We have updated it with new and additional product selections and current pricing.

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Frequently asked questions

What are some of the architects' favorite modern surface mount fixtures?

Some of the architects' favorite modern surface mount fixtures include the PH5 Pendant Lamp by Poul Henningsen, the Tube wall sconce by Michael Anastassiades, the Aplomb wall light by Lucidi & Pevere, the LED Ceiling Light by Tobias Grau, and the IC ceiling/wall light by Flos.

Who designed the PH5 Pendant Lamp?

The PH5 Pendant Lamp was designed by Poul Henningsen.

What is the style of the Tube wall sconce?

The Tube wall sconce has a sleek and minimalist style.

Who designed the Aplomb wall light?

The Aplomb wall light was designed by Lucidi & Pevere.

Who is the designer of the LED Ceiling Light?

The LED Ceiling Light was designed by Tobias Grau.

What is unique about the IC ceiling/wall light?

The IC ceiling/wall light has a unique design featuring a spherical glass lamp balanced on a delicate metal frame.

Where can I find these modern surface mount fixtures?

You can find these modern surface mount fixtures at various lighting retailers, both online and in physical stores. Additionally, you may also find them on the respective designer's official websites or authorized reseller websites.

Are these fixtures suitable for residential use?

Yes, these fixtures are suitable for residential use and can add a touch of modern elegance to any home.

Can these fixtures be used outdoors?

Most of these fixtures are designed for indoor use only. However, it is always recommended to check the manufacturer's specifications or consult with a lighting professional to determine if they can be used outdoors.

Do these fixtures come with a warranty?

The warranty for these fixtures may vary depending on the manufacturer and retailer. It is advisable to check the warranty information provided by the seller or contact the manufacturer directly for accurate warranty details.

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