For architect and designer James Evanson, “the lights in a room must be no less important than the walls or the floor,” an idea which resulted in his line of truly unique Lighthouses.
Despite the name, Evanson’s designs are not modeled on the familiar seashore beacons, but instead on modern urban office towers, and his architectural training allowed him to convert those structures into an entire series of distinctive, functional, and artistic light fixtures, five of which are currently on display at RARE:
LightStruck (1984): wood, paint, lacquer, steel, loose plastic elements; $5,000.
Lo-Beam (1984): wood, paint, lacquer, steel, loose plastic elements; $3,500.
Luna (1984): wood, paint, lacquer, steel, loose plastic elemetns; included in the price of the The New Empire Desk; $27,500.
Monolit (1985): wood, paint, lacquer, steel, loose plastic elements; $6,000.
Torch (1984): Wood, paint, lacquer, steel, loose plastic elements; $4,500.
Evoking both Japanese aesthetics and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Evanson’s cleverly realized architectural forms are striking in and of themselves, but each of the five designs is also customizable with moveable accessories—such as pieces of brightly colored acrylic and wooden ornaments—which allow a great deal of flexibility as to how the lights interact with their individual environments, from the arrangement of the acrylic chips across their façades to how those hues and the fixtures’ inherent frameworks are cast on the wall when lit from within. This ability makes the Lighthouses as much about creating an intimate, personalized space as providing light, and exemplifies the precepts of the functional art movement.
When Evanson first introduced his Lighthouses in the mid-1980s, they appeared in numerous publications, and were presented in various international shows, museums, and galleries. These five vintage examples—held since that time in one collection—have not previously been on display, but until March 14th, they will once again be brightening the streets of Manhattan at RARE.