Questions With: Flambeau Lighting

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Flambeau Lighting Chandeliers and Logo

We recently caught up with the folks from Flambeau Lighting. Based in New Orleans, Flambeau draws on the vibrant art and attitude of the "Big Easy".

Founder Joe McKearn and original designer Paul Gruer spoke about the unique style and artistry of their brand. Here's what they had to say:

Q: Flambeau captures the spirit of New Orleans, what is it you love about this unique city?

A: Paul Gruer -- What I most love about New Orleans is exactly that -- its uniqueness! New Orleans is known as "The city that care forgot". The unique is celebrated, and we love to celebrate! Few cities enjoy such a rich history, a blend of cultures, and love for the arts like New Orleans.

Where else can you find world class restaurants, jazz clubs, antique shops and a strip club in the same block?!

Q: How did Flambeau Lighting come to be?

A: Joe McKearn -- The story begins in 2001. As a former maritime attorney and President of Dauphine Mirror Company, I was visiting designer Karyl Pierce-Paxton at her studio in New Orleans. While there, I noticed an incredibly cool table lamp sitting on an antique console and asked her where she had found it. She told me her best friend, New Orleans designer Paul Gruer, had designed and sculpted the piece for her.

Karyl arranged for me to meet the artist, and shortly thereafter, I commissioned Paul to design a line of lamps for a brand new company created specifically to showcase his designs. I called it Flambeau Lighting.

Q: Is there a traditional style of lighting, maybe even back to gas lighting, that informs Flambeau design?

A: Paul Gruer -- There is no one style that influences my designs for Flambeau Lighting. It is a conscious and unconscious result of having lived in New Orleans and absorbed so many different influences that have melded together to become a style that's uniquely mine.

The architecture, French, Spanish, Creole; the textures of the city, sophisticated Uptown, bohemian French Quarter; the constant energy -- they all inspire me to express myself exactly as I feel.

Q: We love how Flambeau table lamps juxtapose unusual shapes and colors, and many are antiqued with subtle distressing. Where do these inspirations come from?

A: Paul Gruer -- The finishes and colors of my work come from all around me. The shadows made as the noon sun shines through lace work balconies, sun bleached walls covered with jasmine, the bright neon of Bourbon street, the elegant courtyards with their centuries old secrets -- these are all part of what makes the Flambeau Collection.

Q: What trends in interior lighting and design do you see emerging in the near future?

A: Paul Gruer -- New trends for interior lighting are combining form and function in truly witty and unique ways. A table lamp is no longer just a lamp. It is a fun way to express individual style. It's that prefect piece of jewelry that completes a room. A bad lamp is like bad shoes, it can ruin a perfectly good outfit!!

Q: How will the continued renaissance of New Orleans (punctuated by the Saints Super Bowl victory!) influence Flambeau's future designs?

A: Paul Gruer -- One thing New Orleans does even better than throw a party is bounce back from a challenge. Nothing can keep our spirits down for long. The city becomes more vibrant everyday. For every loss there is a rebirth. The Saints showed the world that New Orleans is here to stay.

Q: What's next for Flambeau Lighting?

A: Paul Gruer -- Flambeau Lighting will still be the same fun, unique collection it has always been. Every room needs a bit of fun and that is Flambeau.

Thank you so much Paul and Joe! Be sure to browse our whole collection of Flambeau Lighting.

Post Update June 6, 2011: Flambeau Lighting has posted a YouTube video highlighting their Spring 2011 line. Click below to view. (Sorry, but this video is no longer available on YouTube.)


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  • Great information, thanks for the post! lighting gal

Questions With: Flambeau Lighting