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

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

July 6, 2016

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/Designer Directory.

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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, 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 $65 at Lumens.

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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 $3,265.

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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 Triple Ceiling Light is $8,310 at Y Lighting.

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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 $290 at Y Lighting.

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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.

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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 $275 at Lumens.

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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 $562 at Lumens.

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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. It will be available worldwide in September 2016.

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Above: We included the Alabax Pendant Light from Schoolhouse Electric in the “Remodelista 100” chapter of the Remodelista Book, a guide to the most useful and beautiful household items we know. Made in Portland, Oregon, the fixture is $139.

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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 $1.49 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.

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