Lamp prettiest if it does its job

Smart Shopping

Your Money

April 11, 2004|By Laurie Squire

The product: A floor lamp.

The expert: Tony Award-winning lighting designer Jules Fisher - and partner Peggy Eisenhauer - have lighted more than 150 Broadway and off-Broadway shows, in addition to ballet, opera, television and rock 'n' roll productions.

What I want: Function always comes first; the lamp should distribute light where you want it.

I must have: Of course, the lamp also must be beautiful. As an object, I want it pleasing to my eye. A reading lamp should light the book. By the same token, a lamp meant to illuminate people sitting on a couch should do that gracefully. Generally speaking, incandescent sources remain the most attractive for homes because they flatter skin tones.

What I hate: Shopping for lamps in a showroom. They are usually all on, and you have to imagine one lamp doing all the work on its own.

Savvy shopper: Always look for lamps with dimmer switches; it's important for a lamp to adjust to the mood of different scenarios. And I might be willing to spend a little more to purchase one with historical value.

Somehow, they seem more attractive, but maybe it's because they remind us of a lamp grandma had.

My pick: One-of-a-kind pieces that I made for my own home. I also have a Noguchi paper globe lamp that is perfectly pleasing and quite simple. MoMA Design Store has them for $750.

Next best thing: A Noguchi-inspired lamp from IKEA (Vreten, for $44.99) can be just as functional, attractive and appropriate.

Laurie Squire is a staff writer for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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