Discovered | Personable lamps

Posted: August 24, 2007

"Traditional lighting with a twist" is the way business partners Caryn and Susan Kinzig describe the colorful, elegant table and floor lamps they create for Kinzig Design Home. The pair's highly eclectic line blends art nouveau and Victorian touches with Asian and modern influences, and features hand-blown glass bodies, patinated copper and brass elements, distinctive finials, and unusually shaped shades fashioned from embroidered silks and custom-printed fabrics.

"We are trying to design something that will stand the test of time, not this year's look," says Caryn Kinzig, who lives in Merion Station. She spent 20 years in finance before setting up the lamp-making concern in 2003 with sister-in-law Susan, a San Francisco jewelry designer.

So how does the bicoastal collaboration work? Just fine, says Caryn, who designs the lampshades and oversees their fabrication in Philadelphia. She also works with Ardmore textile designer Lonni Rossi to create some of the subtly patterned fabrics featured on those shades. Susan supervises the lamp-making in her studio, with glass pieces supplied by artisans in Vermont and Indiana and metal elements she crafts herself.

"Sometimes the shade gets designed first, and sometimes it's the lamp," Caryn Kinzig says. "Suzie and I talk about 10 times a day. And then there are e-mails and faxes."

The collection now includes more than 50 styles, each named after a friend or family member. Among them: the "Isabella" with green glass and a salmon-colored asymmetrical shade hand-printed with a ginkgo leaf pattern, and the "Audrey," with red and gold glass and an oval shade with wine, gold and tangerine swirls.

Such bold looks and handcrafting don't come cheap, of course. Kinzig Design's lamps start at $475 and are carried in more than 300 shops and craft galleries, including Caleb Meyer in Chestnut Hill, Rare Earth in King of Prussia, Artisans Three in Spring House, Details Lighting in Bala Cynwyd, and Cenzia Arts and Gifts in Kennett Square. Information: www.kinzigdesign.com.

- Eils Lotozo

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