“Our design philosophy is to create enduring, simple products that express the logic of material and form,” explains Theo Richardson of Rich Brilliant Willing (RBW), the Brooklyn-based contemporary lighting firm he co-founded in 2007 with fellow Rhode Island School of Design graduates Charles Brill and Alexander Williams.
Standing out from the various collections – encompassing simple sconces, playful pendants, elegant lamps and elaborate chandeliers – are two series inspired by trees. Branch features simple strips ranging from a linear pendant ($940) to the Triple Chandelier ($1,725, first picture) in ebonised oak and gold-coloured steel. “We love materials that age well,” says Richardson, “so we often work with aluminum, brass, steel, oak and glass.” Gala lamps (from $1,220 to $9,305) are inspired by fruit-laden trees – from a single pendant ($1,520) to the more complex Cross ($9,305, second picture) with its numerous hand-blown ivory glass bulbs. Silkworm cocoons, meanwhile, are the inspiration for the sculptural Mori series – reminiscent of Isamu Noguchi’s Akari creations – including the elongated Mori Fin ($755) and the shapely Mori Leaf ($575). Here, each thread-covered orb casts a warm glow.
Another unique design series is Delta, featuring box-pleating fabric shades. The floor lamp ($710) is available in either a black version with opaque gold lining, or in white with a translucent liner for an ethereal aura. The Delta I Black ($655) is a striking fixture inspired by rocket engines – Londoners might have spotted it in Mayfair restaurant Bo.
Perhaps what especially draws the fan base of architects, hoteliers and private clients is the level of customisation possible with each order: finishes can be altered, dimensions adjusted, and rush orders are accommodated whenever possible.
Site expansion is on the cards as ideas are plentiful: “Right now, our biggest influences are Constantin Brâncuşi, Henry Moore, and Barbara Hepworth. We continue to be inspired by organic form and the lasting relevance of individual expression.” The future for RBW looks bright.