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July 12, 2017
Photo via Lumio Facebook

5 Must-Have Modern Art Lights Designed in San Francisco

When artists create lighting, the unique designs and exquisite craftsmanship exceed anything mass-produced. San Francisco lighting designers Max Gunawan and brothers Pablo and Fernando Pardo create award-winning lighting in the spirit of the light artworks celebrated in Illuminate SF. Theirs and more contemporary light art designs are available at SFMOMA, de Young and Legion of Honor museum stores and online, and in other locations locally and around the world. The unique combination of form, function and the manipulation of light results in simple, beautiful, illuminating pieces you’ll want to give as gifts — keep to light up your own home and life — or choose to make an impact with two bright ideas that shine it forward to children and families critically in need of light.

LUMIO by Max Gunawan 
San Francisco architect and inventor Max Gunawan has a passion for making simple, elegant, functional things that make life easier and more enjoyable. From that passion Lumio emerged. “My idea was to make something portable and collapsible that could transform into something else,” he says, “so I created a design that combines powerful lighting in the traditional form of a book — a book that lights up when you open the cover. It was a simple concept with the goal of giving people the freedom to experience beautiful lighting wherever they are.”

Lumio certainly is an attention-grabber. People have to touch it, examine it, smile at it. It’s that tactile craving that helped launch Lumio in 2013 after a successful $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to great acclaim and numerous design awards, including in early 2015, an appearance on Shark Tank, where all five hosts wanted a piece of Max Gunawan’s company. The show even made him a bit of a celebrity. “The show is tremendous in terms of recognition,” he recalls. “I was in my hometown of Jakarta, walking in a mall, and someone goes, ‘Hey, are you Max from Shark Tank?’”

You can find Lumio and Mini Lumio at the de Young and Legion of Honor museum stores and SFMOMA Museum Store. Tour San Francisco’s citywide gallery of light with Max Gunawan in the Illuminate SF video.

PIXO by Fernando and Pablo Pardo
Venezuelan-born industrial designer Pablo Pardo founded Pablo Designs in San Francisco in 1993. Since then, his core principles have informed the development of every one of the stunning lights in the studio’s 20-year history. Most recently, he and his twin brother Fernando Pardo received a 2012 Red Dot Product Design Award for PIXO, one of many designs that have propelled the studio to the forefront of American contemporary lighting. Their uncompromising devotion to simplicity and utility transform any environment and create lasting designs that provide a lifetime of illumination.

You can find PIXO at the SFMOMA Museum Store.

See the [Art] Lights at SFMOMA 
Set your nights aglow with LUMIO, PIXO and more shining examples of sculptural art lights available at San Francisco’s SFMOMA Museum Store, 151 Third St. and at museumstore.sfmoma.org. Lumio, PIXO and other art lamps described below range in price from $125 – $220 (museum members receive 10% off, and every purchase supports SFMOMA’s exhibitions and education programs). 

  • Lumio by Max Gunawan –  Light anywhere, possibility everywhere. Portable, rechargeable multifunctional lamp conceals itself in the form of a book. 2015 Winner Red Dot Award for Product Design.
  • Pablo PIXO Lamp by Fernando and Pablo Pardo  – Although it embodies an emotive, humanistic form, at its conceptual core, PIXO is an ultra-efficient task light. 2012 Winner Red Dot Award for Product Design.
  • Numen Lamp by Hui-Lun Li – Constructed of silicon rubber, the fluorescent lamp lights differently each time you give it a new look and shape.
  • Mr. n Lamp by Peter Ng for Koncept – This dimmable LED lamp’s unique, seamless arch-shaped design glows with a soft, warm omni-directional light.
  • Bulbing LED Lamp by Nir Chehanowski for Studio Cheha – Enjoy the wonder of light and enter a new dimension of perception where 2D and 3D designs unite.

Two Bright Ideas to Shine it Forward
While there are many solar lamps and lighting systems available globally, the art of giving back is at the very heart of these two company models: LuminAID and MPOWERD make innovative and affordable Inflatable solar lights that create bright, long-lasting illumination. Ideal for outdoor camping adventures and backyard parties, they’re also a reliable light source that can be critical to survival after a disaster, and for everyday living for people in developing countries without electricity. These ingenious inflatable solar light designs range in price from $9.99 to about $25, and for $10 more you can sponsor a light that will be distributed by the companies’ charitable partners direct to those in need around the world.

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