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Refractory: American Craftsmanship Revisited

Refractory, founded by Angie West and Alberto Vélez, emphasizes materiality and American craftsmanship in design. Based in Chicago, Refractory is a furniture, lighting, and objects brand and design studio that conceives, produces, and purveys rigorously crafted works in a language distinct within American and contemporary design landscapes. The studio’s ethos embraces the unusual, durable, and resilient, drawing inspiration from nature and classical training. Their work represents a renaissance in American artisanship and small-scale urban manufacturing, combining noble materials and innovative branding. Layering traditional methods with modern tools, Refractory is both an evolution and an extension of a community of artists rooted in American craftsmanship who seek to create in the space where art meets collectible design. Their mission is to sustain and evolve American craft while fostering a collaborative environment among artisans. The debut collection aims for aesthetic durability, encouraging interaction and the visible wear of time.

“Cypher is a shroud of nature’s codes.  The patterns born from millions of years of DNA coding, celebrated by both the outside and the rarely seen inside of the armadillos armor, are wrapped together with human language and literature. A series of seven AP variations in polished bronze is currently available.” Each work is piece-unique. The artist hand assembles each pendant from panels of torn wax. Textural compostion, diameter, and height will slightly vary from one to another.

dining table refractory

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refractory bowl

dining table refractory

dining table refractory

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refractory american craft floor lamp

refractory dining room table

american craft refractory dining table

sconce refractory

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bench refractory

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In-Stock Lighting with Liaigre

liaigre sconce

Liaigre options for in-stock lighting are plentiful. From table lamps to sconces to floor lamps – Liaigre knows that lighting is one of the most affective factors when deciding the energy of a room. Luckily, the Medicis Sconce is part of their in-stock lighting category. Created for an interior design project in Malibu, the Medicis Sconce is finished in black patina brass with a gold brass interior diffuser.

Both serving as a decorative and refined piece, the Valentin Lamp illuminates and enhances the interior.

Created in 2008 by Christian Liaigre as part of the Motu Tané project in Bora Bora, the Atoll Lamp is a bronze sculpture symbolizing the squaring of a circle. It evokes an annular coral reef of the warm seas, enclosing a lagoon communicating with the open sea. The most famous are those of the Maldives, Tuamotu, Kiribati, Bikini…This ring will bring a subtle halo of light to any interior space.

The Gabard Lamp perfectly suits to intimate places such as a library or bedroom. Its halo creates a peaceful atmosphere.

The Elegance Sconce diffuses a subtle and elegant light into every room because of the aquarelle paper shade.

The Chantecaille is a modern floor lamp, that adds an intimate, warm touch of light to an interior. It has a contemporary spirit, synonymous with a timeless and elegant style.


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APPARATUS + Business of Home: 5 PART PLAY

“Since its founding in 2012, APPARATUS has exploded. The brand has two dedicated showrooms in the U.S., with another forthcoming in London; more than 30 stockists internationally; and more than 100 employees. The company is that rare beast: both a financial and an artistic success story. It’s a result, says Gabriel Hendifar, of a design vision based around emotional resonance more than any one aesthetic.”

In an episode from early October 2022, Business of Home podcast host and NY School of Interior Design Dennis Scully interviewed APPARATUS founder and Artistic Director Gabriel Hendifar to understand the nexus of the brand’s creativity – its past, its present, and its future. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, Scully and Hendifar take the listener through a five part play, revealing glimpses into the brand’s hero journey. As the audience, we know the magic is partly in awaiting the collections – also known as ACTS – that APPARATUS launches with baited breadth, knowing the curtain is about to lift upon the most enveloping story that unfolds through various channels.

“What good is the set if you don’t actually have the play to watch? Those moments of communal joy and celebration and seduction and excitement and intrigue—that’s the whole point,” Hendifar shares.

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Betsy Berry’s Modern Approach to Decorative Lighting

APPARATUS Lariat Sconce

Highlighting the ever-evolving advances where technology and design intersect, ADAC is hosting Digital Day to keep the industry in the know of digital advancements & their respective impact on the spaces we live in. Knowing that these changes can be difficult to navigate, especially when it comes to lighting & illuminating designs, we have partnered with ADAC to host “A Modern Approach to Decorative Lighting” – a conversation between Russel Feldman, Owner of Simply Wired PRO, Betsy Berry, Principal Designer of B. Berry Interiors, & Nick Grinder, Vice President of Sales at APPARATUS.

Ahead of this conversation on Wednesday, March 9th, we caught up with Betsy Berry to get her take on the importance of lighting selections in a project & what her favorite pieces are to use.

RH: Betsy, you are educated and trained in New York City. How did moving back to the South in 2013 influence your aesthetic? 

BB: I was actually born and raised in South Carolina, so I always had a southern aesthetic per se. I think my education and work in New York really taught me to refine my design on all fronts. Southern design has had a huge influence on me. Be it my home growing up or my grandmother’s home, the layers and the warmth with elegance throughout isn’t something you forget. It’s a feeling you keep coming back to.

RH: When planning decorative lighting for your projects, where do you begin? A specific room, specific finish, or specific vibe?

BB: I always start with the architecture and bones of the house. I think it dictates the true story of the space. Lighting for me is always so exciting to select – it is one of the most critical choices in the process. I love the juxtaposition of a traditional backdrop of a historic home combined with a modern light fixture. I always strive to keep things timeless yet sexy.

RH: We’d use the phrase “timeless, yet sexy” to describe APPARATUS lighting, and we see you often sourcing their pieces. What about APPARATUS draws you to their designs? Are there any design challenges their offering has helped you solve?

BB: I simply love their products. I think APPARATUS is a go-to for me because it is all of the things I appreciate in design – simplicity yet the highest quality, the ability to live beyond trends and timestamps and the balance of feminine and masculine. Their lighting is easy to love and therefore easy to specify – it helps me solve the problem of finding the perfect piece.

RH: The recently released ACT IV incorporates several new finishes including molded glass, new suede colors and wool satins. Which of these finishes are you most drawn to and which are you most excited to use in an upcoming project? Do you have a favorite piece or pieces from ACT IV?

BB: I love the Starlet sconce from ACT IV specifically – I can’t wait to use it in our upcoming project in Mexico. The combination of the aged brass, bronze suede and satin is to die for…

Outside of that collection, the Lariat pendant has always been one of my favorites – it is the perfect piece among so many backdrops and the alabaster combined with the antique brass is simply gorgeous.