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Bye Bye Bugs: A New Reason to Love Portable Fans

2013 July 19

Higher temperatures and energy bills aside—there’s a new reason to keep a handy fan nearby. The New York Times reported this week that the gentle breeze from an electric fan could be a “poorly known strategy” for keeping mosquitoes and other bugs at bay during summer get togethers.

Indeed, the Mosquito Control Association endorses the approach: “Mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers, so placing a large fan on your deck can provide a low-tech solution.” The group says mosquitoes fly slowly — from roughly 1 to 1.5 miles per hour, depending on the species, making it quite a feat to take on the wind generated from even a lil’ ol’ fan. We’ll embrace any solution that doesn’t involve strong scents or wrapping yourself in netting.

So, is this common knowledge for all of your summer soirees? Either way, if we’re going to beat the heat (and the bugs!) here are a few of our favorite ways to do it:

(Note: While portable fans can go where you go, it’s important to note that they aren’t necessarily rated for outdoor and shouldn’t have a permanent home in your backyard).

Portable table and floor fans at

1. Charly Floor Fan by Stadler Form, $150 2. Arden Floor Fan by Fanimation, $329 3. Urbanjet Fan by Fanimation, $149 4. Otto Fan by Stadler Form, $200 5. Cinni Table Fan by Atlas Fan Company, From $323

New at Lumens: Modern Forms Lighting

2013 July 18
Dawn Indoor/Outdoor LED Wall Sconce by Modern Forms

Dawn Indoor/Outdoor LED Wall Sconce by Modern Forms

A light should be more than just a light, and modern forms from WAC Lighting is just that. This new line of (mostly) vanity and outdoor fixtures takes advantage of the most up-to-date technology and ensures that function isn’t sacrificed for form (though, the form certainly has something going for it, too). The future-forward collection is meant to blend in with the fresh aesthetic of today’s interiors, whether ultra-modern of contemporary casual.

A few reasons we love the Modern Forms lighting collection:

  • Collection includes 160 styles, 5 powder-coat finishes, and a variety of sizes for many styles and applications.
  • Supreme engineering creates everything we love about good lighting: consistent quality, lumen output and a high color rendering index.
  • Sustainable OLED nanotechnology creates light that is brighter and greener.
  • All fixtures feature instant on/off and dimming capabilities.
Forq Indoor/Outdoor LED Wall Sconce by Modern Forms

Forq Indoor/Outdoor LED Wall Sconce by Modern Forms

Shelley Ward, the mastermind behind the Modern Forms lighting line, said the design of the collection started with the LEDs and worked with that, as opposed to creating a fixture’s design and then fitting it with an LED bulb.

“Here, we designed with flexibility of the light source in mind, and that allows us to do things that wouldn’t work with just any off-the-shelf light source,” says Ward. “We wanted the LED sources of the Modern Forms fixtures to be customized to each design.”

Neo LED Bath Bar by Modern Forms

Neo LED Bath Bar by Modern Forms

For example, the Neo LED Bath Bar (above) uses LED flat-panel technology that creates generous light output, even though the fixture itself is just a half-inch deep. And pairing LEDs with the 13th century-style Piastra glass in the Vetri Bath bar (below) creates a beautiful illumination you wouldn’t get with any ol’ bulb.

Vetri LED Bath Bar by Modern Forms

Vetri LED Bath Bar by Modern Forms

Check out the complete collection from Modern Forms at

Recap: Dwell on Design 2013

2013 June 26

Dwell on Design recap 1

Our team headed to Los Angeles last week for Dwell on Design, the West Coast’s major modern design event to check out everything from lighting to live art to furniture and a way-too-exciting run-in with some of our favorite Bravo TV stars.

Here’s some of our favorite finds from the event:

Dwell on Design - Emeco

The Emeco booth was a beautiful destination for good design, with the company’s mantra taking center stage among its collection of chairs, including (bottom, from left to right) Philippe Starck’s Broom Chair, the 111 Navy Chair (made from 111 recycled Coca-Cola bottles) and Konstantin Grcic’s Parrish Side Chair.

Dwell on Design - Inside Norway

We swooned over just about everything in the Norwegian design area, including these glass bubble “trees” from design studios StokkeAustad and Andreas Engesvik, Oslo. Also shown: Oo DESK LAMP by Sverre Uhnger and Grandpa Clock by Gridy.

Dwell on Design - David Trubridge

David Trubridge was recognized for their outstanding showing of his lighting work.

Dwell on Design - WhyrHymer

Handmade lighting by LA-based company Whyrhymer and designer Brandon Morrison isn’t done justice by photos. The originality and attention to detail is stunning.

Dwell on Design - Jeff Lewis Color

Lights! Camera! Jeff Lewis and team were there to promote Jeff Lewis Color, his new paint line in a well-edited palette of 32 warm, modern colors. Please excuse this brief interlude of Lumens groupie love:

Dwell on Design - Jeff Lewis Bravo


Orange crush: Tom Dixon’s Fluoro Bag

2013 June 17


There are a lot of reasons why we love Tom Dixon, but one is the British design studio’s ability to take something seemingly ordinary and kick it up a few notches to something unique and extraordinary. Even something as simple as, say, the color orange.

Fluoro is a signature hue from the designer–a fluorescent orange with hints of red that is anything but shy. This is a color you’d see on emergency road signs or hunting gear. In other words, it’s not to be missed. One of our favorite Fluoro pieces is the Fluoro bag, which we first sported after visiting Tom Dixon at the Furniture Fair in Milan, where we quickly found out how popular they were. People stopped us outside, asking where they could buy one, and the streets were packed with bright orange markers of those who had stopped by the Tom Dixon booth.

tom dixon fluoro 2

A tangerine dream from Tom Dixon.

tom dixon fluoro

These bags could stop traffic.

The love for this bag makes it a bit of a classic for Tom Dixon design aficionados. The color continues to be representative of the brand’s identity and product line, found in many Tom Dixon furniture pieces, such as the Offcut Stool or Peg Coat Stand.

And there’s good news! Now through June 30, every Tom Dixon purchase at comes with a bonus Fluoro bag. This durable satchel has has extra-long strap for easy toting, plus a large front pocket and plenty of room inside to carry around your daily essentials. As long as you’re not trying to fly under the radar (Fluoro will get you noticed). Where would you take Fluoro?

Tom Dixon Offcut Stool in Fluoro

Tom Dixon Offcut Stool in Fluoro

Stool 60 by Artek Celebrates 80th Anniversary of Alvar Aalto’s Design

2013 May 28

It may be a familiar shape in 2013, but Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 was a revolutionary design when it was introduced (to rave reviews) in 1933. Simple and stackable, this wooden stool represented a new approach to furniture design, using wood instead of bent steel (much more common at the time) and the technical development of the L-shaped leg. The aesthetic carried the appeal of Bauhaus-inspired modernism and represented Artek’s design tenets of technology, art and ethics.

Legend has it that Aalto tested the sturdiness of his three-legged stool by repeatedly throwing the prototype to the floor at the Kohhonen furniture factory, shouting, “We’ll make thousands of these one day!” In fact, Artek has already sold millions of this famous design, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. To commemorate the anniversary, Artek is introducing a series of re-imagined stools, designed by well-known architects and designers.
Stool 60 by Mike Meire for Artek

One of the first introductions comes from designer Mike Meire, who added pops of color to the stool’s round seat and each of the three distinctive legs. Here’s a closer look at the careful hand painting that happens to put these stools together (without a lick of painter’s tape in sight, I might add):

Another version injected color into the stool top only, with color options inspired by those used in the Paimo Sanitorium in Finland, which Aalto designed in 1932. The building is now part of a university hospital, but the original served as a tuberculosis sanatorium:

Reintroduction of Artek's Stool 60

Photos from Little Helsinki

The re-introduction I’m pining over most comes from Commes des Garcons, in which designer Rei Kawakubo dresses up the austere natural birch with a striking black and white pattern—sort of a modern take on polka dots (and I never met a polka dot I didn’t like). The design is reminiscent of fashions seen on Commes des Garcons runways.

Stool 60 by Commes de Garcons for Artek

Which reinterpretation of Aalto’s famous design is your favorite?

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap: ‘I Spy’ Edition

2013 May 24

We were proud to be able to sponsor the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour this past weekend. Showcasing 7 Sacramento homes, a swanky vintage car show and several notable points in between, the tour was full of serious eye candy.

Many of the homeowners on the tour are folks after our own hearts—they love good design and lots of famous mid-century styles from names like Eames, Nelson and others. Soooo, naturally we couldn’t help doing a bit of a scavenger hunt among each of the 7 homes, recognizing particular products and seeing how “real” people have worked them into their space. There was lots of love for Herman Miller, of course, plus a few others. Here’s a look at what we found:

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap: Lighting Edition

2013 May 23
by Sarah

We were proud to be able to sponsor the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour this past weekend. Showcasing 7 Sacramento homes, a swanky vintage car show and several notable points in between, the tour was full of serious eye candy.

We’ve said it before: We get excited about lights. While we saw a whole lot of modern pieces from Lumens throughout the homes on the tour (more on that tomorrow), we also spotted several awesome vintage fixtures that were the perfect accent to the decor and architecture.


Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 1

This throw-back piece was the perfect complement to the home’s decor, which retained much of its original design.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 2

A great Sputnik light hung over a home’s game room was a playful touch.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 3

Mid-century chandeliers like this have served as inspirations for many modern designs with updated styling.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 4

Loved these globes over a tall foyer in one of the homes.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 5

A super fun pendant was the perfect retro touch.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Lighting 6

Loved these plug-in wall sconces bookending a sofa.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour Recap: Patterns

2013 May 22

We were thrilled to be able to sponsor the Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour this past weekend. Showcasing 7 Sacramento homes, a swanky vintage car show and several notable points in between, the tour was full of serious eye candy (let’s be real—who doesn’t like peeking into other people’s homes)?

This week we’ll be highlighting different aspects of the tour, but today I wanted to focus on something that caught my eye in some way through each of the homes: patterns. Whether it was old-school upholstery, a unique wallpaper or just a fitting color combo within a space, there was plenty of pattern play happening throughout the tour.

Here’s a closer look at some of my favorites:

(Apologies for my less-than-spectacular photos—Ansel Adams of home tours, I am not.)

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 1

A family of multi-colored polka dots can do no wrong.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 2

Loved this mod print on a classic mid-century chair.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 3

Was sort of enamored with the circle play happening here.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 4

Such a great pattern, paired beautifully with a crisp navy/gray chair.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 5

This cool retro design was hand-painted on a tabletop by one of the homeowners.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 6

A perfect balance of color and a just-right amount of playfulness in these patterned pillows.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 7

This quirky wallpaper was perfect for the girls changing room next to the pool.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 8

Quinessentially retro wallpaper that lined one of the closet/bathroom areas.

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour 9

A room divider with clean and modern lines that are a signature of the mid-century.

Did that take you back? Stay tuned for more highlights from the tour the rest of this week!

Nafir by Karim Rashid for AXO Light

2013 May 13
Nafir Pendant by Axo Light

Karim Rashid’s Nafir Collection for Axo Light.


Karim Rashid is tooting a new horn: introducing the Nafir Pendant, a new contemporary lighting collection for Italian design studio Axo Light.

“Nafir is pure imagination,” says Karim Rashid about his first lighting collection for Axo Light. “I wanted to make a fixture that was part sculpture, one that looked beautiful even with the lights turned off, yet provided perfect functional LED light. I also wanted to create a family of fixtures whose trumpet-likes forms could be organically grouped together to create a fantastic landscape of light and shape.”

Fantastic landscapes pretty much define this unfathomably prolific designer’s penchant for organic shapes and innovative materials. With his global sensibility, the man has designed literally everything from clocks and pens to chairs and sex toys, as well as interiors and corporate identities. There is perhaps nothing he can’t do – and all of it expresses Rashid’s signature interplay of color, form, playfulness and minimal elegance.

His Nafir pendants are no exception. Inspired by a flat surface that has been “pulled and morphed,” it has a form and energy that’s indicative of Rashid’s unmistakable aesthetic. Like much of his work, Nafir evokes movement, even in stillness, and represents a pull toward the future – even while being named for a traditional North African ceremonial trumpet (the nafir). We’re not the only ones who were awed by his innovative design: Rashid’s forward-thinking collection was honored with a 2012 Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. Available as a single suspension light or grouped in multiples, the Nafir Pendant by Axo Light is available in a choice of chrome, white or gold finishes.

Hear more about the design from Rashid himself in the video below:

Nafir Pendants by Axo Light

Rashid’s design is available in a White/White finish, Chrome/White and White/Gold, shown here.

Nafir Pendants by Axo Light

Rashid’s Nafir Pendants in Chrome

Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour

2013 May 11
Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour

The Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour takes place May 18. Photos by Donald Satterlee.

We’re very excited to be sponsoring this year’s Sacramento Mid-Century Modern Home Tour–the May 18 event features 7 homes, including Eichler homes from the 1950s, a 1970 Carter Sparks/Streng Home and lots more. Aside from the famous architecture, we love getting a peek into some of the area’s most gorgeous homes, many of them impeccably designed and featuring iconic mid-century modern lighting and furniture.

While this is a home tour, there’s much more to be seen throughout the event. A Vintage Transportation show will also take place, and the tour includes the interiors of several special, not-often-seen mid-century modern buildings in the area. There’s also a free screening of a film about Eichler Homes — “People in Glass Houses” by Monique Lombardelli of Modern Homes Realty in collaboration with Kyle Chesser.

If you aren’t in the area, fear not–we’ll be sharing lots of photos on Instagram (follow us @lumensdotcom), and you can always get your MCM fix with our friends at Sacramento Modern, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and protecting modern art, architecture and design in the Sacramento region.

And if you are in the area, be sure to get your tickets ASAP–advance sales only run through May 15, and attendance is limited, so there’s no guarantee that tour-day tickets will be available.

Hope to see you there!

The Best in Modern Lighting features the very best designs in contemporary lighting, modern lighting and modern home accessories from over 300 brands including Louis Poulsen, Artemide, Kartell, Herman Miller, LucePlan, Gus Modern and more.