Lamp designer sees the light in Long Island City
Gordon Joseph opened his lamp-design shop in Long Island City in October 2008. (Photo by Marie Claire Andrea)
By Lana Bortolot
Special to amNewYork
Lamp designer Gordon Joseph saw an opportunity when he moved his shop, Lightbox Home, from the East Village to Long Island City, where a housing boom was under way.
The neighborhood overlooking the Manhattan skyline from the East River in Queens is bursting with new residential development.
Joseph is a retail pioneer at 1207 Jackson Ave. where there are few home furnishing options a couple of blocks from bustling Vernon Boulevard.The move to Long Island City, in October 2008, came with reasonable rent and the prospect of thousands of new residents/customers looking to furnish their brand new condos.
I see a real synergy between my product and the style of real estate being marketed here, Joseph said. Its given me an opportunity to add something to design and style thats in tune with what people are utilizing.
Josephs lamps incorporate the spirit of modernist sculptor Isamu Noguchi also a renowned lamp master who once kept a studio in Long Island City.
[Noguchi] was the only person who really understood the spirituality of lighting, said Joseph, who works in translucent materials such as acrylics. Like him, I was looking for that product that expressed the [lamp] material and spirituality that goes beyond the commercial aspect.
The hand-finished lamps range from $40 for a small 4 x 4 table lamp to $500 for a floor lamp. He said most of his sales are done in the store to a domestic clientele, but he plans to start marketing online to a global audience.
The lamp designer has about 40 models in his portfolio, which he is constantly tweaking and expanding. He also custom-designs lamps within three to five days.
Though the local real estate market and related discretionary buying are in a slump, Joseph remains optimistic. He said sales have been better than expected given the economic conditions.
I think the challenge is to stay current and positive. The opportunity is out there, but you have to be smart about seeing it, he said.