I’ve been wanting to blog about Toronto’s Lampcage Studio for years. Literally. A few years ago there was an outside contributor who pitched me on writing about Dean Lee’s awesome, upcycling studio but the writer never followed through and I never got back to Parliament Street to do it myself. Until last weekend.
Dean has been scavenging and buying lighting parts for nearly 20 years now, cobbling together sexy, Frankenstein creations that fit into just about every stylistic category from cutting edge to transitional to outright traditional. A few pieces, like the wagon wheel-style suspension light below ($1,100) have a foot in two camps, this one feels sort of medieval modern. The star shaped piece above is priced at $545 and the spidery one at the top of the page is $795.
Lee’s contemporary creations are very much of the moment; he’s tapping straight into the design Zeitgeist with pieces like the suspension light below, priced at $995. And if you don’t think that’s a great price for a handsome, handmade fixture like this then you haven’t been shopping for lighting in awhile.
And while I recognize that Lee is surfing the trends with many of these pieces, they’re not my favorite things in his store . . .
I was especially captivated by the pole-mounted ceiling light, above ($295), with its rough, tarnished exterior and its burnished, warm interior glow. The pin-prick holes are like a thousand stars in a night sky. I was also taken with the desk lamp, below ($285), cobbled together from an old glass shade and some metal plates, poles and elbow joints. The lamp is a little bit Art Deco, a little bit Steampunk.
I also love the pearlescent glass of the drop pendant below, so 1940s meets 2013.
And then there are the shades. I’ve been looking for a shade supplier since Aristocrat got pushed out by a condo and yes, Lee makes custom shades, in addition to having a good supply of ready-mades on hand. Not nearly as cheap as Aristocrat mind you ($60 – $80) but well made and at least you don’t have to schlepp to Castlefield.
And finally, Lee has some amazing tables for sale, items he brings in from other artisans and dealers. My absolute favorite is the centre hall table below ($1,000) that could function as an ultra cool dining perch in a small condo. From across the room the piece looks like tarnished pewter but up close you realize it’s made from recycled auto tires. I love, love, love this table and wish I had a place for it.
I was nearly as smitten by the dining table/desk below ($1,500) which is mango wood wrapped in aluminum (the metal sheaths the entire top, even the underside). OMG, such cool, original pieces!
And finally, there was the recycled, metal drum table below that would make a fantastically chic coffee table ($495).
These days there are so many retailers competing to furnish our homes but when I see pieces like these that are fiercely unique and affordable I have to jump up on my soapbox and put the word out. Visit the Lampcage (557 Parliament Street, 416-686-5350), tell Dean stylenorth sent you.