Feb. 2, 2011 12:08 AM
20110202-livingind-0101

Like art, the right lighting is an integral part of any space. By Erin Z. Bass

"When is the last time you bought a lamp?" asks Cecilia Blanchard, who opened Lafayette's Lamp Designs with her husband, Mike, in April of last year. She asks the question to prove a point: Like pieces of art, lamps are not everyday purchases. They should be chosen carefully and expected to last a lifetime. There are two more things Blanchard wants those in the market for lighting to know: "A light can first create a mood, and second it can enhance," she says. Like art, the right lighting is an integral part of any space. By Erin Z. Bass

"When is the last time you bought a lamp?" asks Cecilia Blanchard, who opened Lafayette's Lamp Designs with her husband, Mike, in April of last year. She asks the question to prove a point: Like pieces of art, lamps are not everyday purchases. They should be chosen carefully and expected to last a lifetime. There are two more things Blanchard wants those in the market for lighting to know: "A light can first create a mood, and second it can enhance," she says.

Brazilian born, with a background in industrial design and architecture, Blanchard views lighting as an integral part of any space. "With bad lighting, no matter how great your interior, you won't be able to show what you have," she explains. "One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to lighting a space is not knowing what function the lamp or fixture will have. From bright to subdued, it's like a stage in a way. You can play with light. You can create light sculpture, functions and shapes."

Just as stages rely on lighting technicians, homes and office spaces need lighting designers to maximize their effect. Lamp Designs, located on Rue Promenade in River Ranch, represents more than 26 different manufacturers. On the shop floor, table lamps, floor lamps, chandeliers and wall-mounted fixtures in traditional to contemporary designs are blended with accessories, artwork and furniture to simulate how they would look in a space. Blanchard is available for architectural and home design consultations and hopes customers will use the shop as an extension of their existing design services.  

Expect to pay $200-$900 for a lamp, and keep in mind that it's more than just a light fixture. "You're looking at it like a sculpture or piece of art," Blanchard says. "A good lamp, well placed, will last 10 to 20 years. After that, you can change the shade at most."

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