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So one might suppose that designing a lamp would be a snap.
Au contraire. Dreyfus found adapting his notion of perfect light — an 18th-century candle-lit crystal chandelier — a difficult task. After all, a contraption of wax and crystal would have been too anachronistic. And Dreyfus, 42, had no intention of rehashing the past.
"I didn’t want to do a flash disco lamp," says Dreyfus. "I wanted it to be very modern and discreet."
Ultimately, he discovered his solution in a substance most people associate with cooking: salt. "Salt is perfect for what I wanted to do," he says. "It reflects the light, giving it movement. And the salt I used makes the light seductive."
Dreyfus’ two floor-lamp models — both oblong minimalist metal rectangles — have hundreds of salt crystals placed between two panes of glass. To give them a high tech twist, Dreyfus outfitted them with two sophisticated dimmers and carved a small crack in the back where a swath of red light seeps out.
The larger is a five-foot model that sells for about $7,000, while a two-foot version will cost about $4,000. There are 14 of each, and they will be unveiled exclusively at Colette in mid-January.
But even finding the right salt proved a process of trial and error, Dreyfus admits.
"In the beginning, I wanted to use salt from the Dead Sea," he says. "But it was too gray. And when I tried French salt, it wasn’t quite crystalline enough. I finally found the right salt. But I’m not telling where it’s from. It’s my secret."
In any case, the salt diffuses the light with a subtle tint of lavender and amber.
So is this the beginning of a new career? Dreyfus might have no intention of producing his exclusive freshman effort industrially, but he has designed a small chrome lamp for London’s Sketch, restaurateur Mourad Mazouz’s latest venture.