Stephen Downes, ‘Copiaco, Standing Lamp’, 2016, Maison Gerard

About Stephen Downes

After forging a career as a restorer of art deco light fixtures, Stephen Downes began his own practice, taking the lessons he learned from past designers and applying them to contemporary forms. Downes primarily uses alabaster and emphasizes the material while working within its limitations. “When you know the material so well, as a stone carver, you design things based on what the material can do,” Downes has said. He established these parameters based on his experience restoring historic lamps; Downes recognized that past fabricators privileged design over durability and pushed materials too far, creating frail objects. Downes highlights the natural qualities of alabaster, employing its jagged lines to create simple lighting fixtures.

American, b. 1960, New York, New York, based in New York, New York