The 100-year-old industrial building in Long Island City that’s now home to lighting studio Bone Simple Design has a serendipitous pedigree. It was formerly the place where luxury fabric house Scalamandré dyed its textiles. “It’s bizarre but amazing that we’re doing the same thing in the space today,” says Chad Jacobs, Bone Simple’s founder and designer.
Dip-dyeing and painting large rope pendants and using shibori-inspired methods to spice up plain linen shades is a fairly new venture for Jacobs, who began producing his line of custom lighting in 1993. This winter, before shutting down work for a month due to COVID-19, he completed 15 five-foot-tall string fixtures for a hotel in the Bahamas by MR Architecture. The cord was plunged into a vat of golden yellow dye before completion. “For me, lighting is obviously about light, but it’s also about texture,” says Jacobs. “I’m not a big fan of the bare bulb look.” Ahead, the designer gives us a peek behind the scenes and reveals how he’s been making a splash this year with color.
In the 5,000-square-foot, first-floor space, Jacobs is joined by seven employees, most of whom come from art backgrounds. Together they work on everything by hand, with the exception of the metal plating and powder-coated frames. When Jacobs originally moved into the studio, he specified to the building where to place the junction boxes so he could suspend the fixtures all over the place. Most are operable so that the team has a bright spot to work; others, like the massive hanging white cage pendant lamp (pictured above), are on display for visiting clients.
In this scenario, the dramatic piece hangs extra low to the ground so you can really get a sense of its impressive dome shape.