Illuminated Collaboration: Workstead Gives Schumacher Designs New Form | Design & Decor | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Illuminated Collaboration: Workstead Gives Schumacher Designs New Form

A Lighting Collab Creates Architectural Sconces from Classic Textiles


Last Updated: 09/25/2020 11:17 am
Block in Schumacher's Floreana
  • Block in Schumacher's Floreana

In 2019, Workstead, one of Brooklyn’s premier design studios, capped off a decade in business by opening a 1,000-square-foot outpost on Warren Street in Hudson.

Founded by husband-and-wife RISD grads Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler, who were later joined by Ryan Mahoney, Workstead earned its stripes creating custom-designed spaces (like the Wythe Hotel), furnishings, and light fixtures that blend MCM, contemporary, and historic elements. Locally, you can check out their stylings at Rivertown Lodge in Hudson, which the team designed in 2015.

Gable in Schumacher's Rolling Hills
  • Gable in Schumacher's Rolling Hills

The trio of architects bring a structural quality to their line of lighting fixtures, which have become a calling card. Their 10th anniversary collection, Archetype, was inspired by Modernist titans like Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto, and comes in three shapes: Vault, Gable, and Block. If these names called to mind roofs—you’re right on the money. These streamlined shapes look exactly how they sound and come in three yummy finishes: matte brass, nickel, and bronze.

Workstead’s latest lighting line is a collaboration with historic American design giant Schumacher, which is best known for its textiles and wallpaper. Pairing choice selections from Schumacher’s classic line wall covering designs with their Archetype sconce shapes, Workstead was able to create a series of three fixtures that are whimsical yet elegant, familiar yet elevated.

Block in Schumacher's Floreana
  • Block in Schumacher's Floreana

“Our goal was to create a series of distinct fixtures that pushed the wall sconce typology in a new direction, through the rich pairing of Schumacher fabrics with three architectural shapes,” Highsmith says. “Accessing Schumacher’s encyclopedic catalog of fabric, we chose fabrics that infuse the three sconce types with color, pattern, and texture to create our most dynamic line of sconces to date.”

Vault, a gracefully arched shape, is paired with Schumacher’s Woodland Silhouette in Steel—an understated grey and cream sylvan motif in slubbed linen fabric. The steep pitch of Gable pairs with showcases Schumacher’s Rolling Hills in Green, a near-psychedelic landscape in emerald, dotted with bounding fauna and and blooming flora. The structured cubishness of Block offers a provocative contrast with the most delicate choice, Floreana in Blue, a design reminiscent of English gardens...and dishware.

Use the patterned sconces on a contrasting solid-color wall for an impactful pop. Or match them to the wallpaper, as Highsmith and Brechbuehler did in their own Connecticut home, for a subtler effect, while still adding dimension to the wall. When matched, the sconces blend in with the wall covering while unlit, but hit the switch, the wall’s unexpected topography is, quite literally, illuminated.
Gable in Schumacher's Rolling Hills
  • Gable in Schumacher's Rolling Hills

“This is the entry point. This is Workstead’s way of entering into this new evocative aesthetic,” adds Highsmith. “When the light comes on, everyone wants to touch the walls and the fixtures. This goes back to a core Workstead principle of tangibility; we always want to design products that people are moved to touch and interact with.”

Get your hands on these now. The new lighting line went on sale on September 21.

Vault in Schumacher's Woodland Silhouette
  • Vault in Schumacher's Woodland Silhouette

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