A Glowing Review, with Leslie Keno

We’re delighted to reproduce a recent interview with Leslie Keno of The Keno Bros, where he discusses the principles of good design and the inspiration behind new lamps in the Collection.

“Harvey Dondero, CEO of Theodore Alexander, said when we first started the partnership that we could make pretty much anything. Within reason, what he said has basically been true. Because of the incredible metal smiths and craftsmen, we were able to produce pieces other companies can’t make. Our cast brass is made using the lost-wax technique where wax melts out within the mold as molten brass is poured in. This was used to make the frame of the Glow floor lamp. It’s huge, about 66 inches high. It’s primal and people have different reactions to it. Some have this gut instinctual reaction to it like art. Is it a lamp or is it sculpture? It’s a fine line. It has beautiful, gorgeous wood and parchment. Put it in the corner and it glows and creates ambiance.

Sculpture and sculptural aspects are very important to both Leigh and I. As identical twins we have pretty identical tastes. When we were fine tuning Glow, for example, we’d go to the factory, look at the prototype and revise. I noticed that each of us had the same exact thought. We’d both sit down and say, “Okay, this lamp is too short. This shade shouldn’t be curved.” One of us thought about the materials and the other thought about how the light would be used in the room. Is it going to be a glow, or will it direct light up by sitting on the floor?

My (day) job is to evaluate and judge pieces of mostly American furniture where subtle proportions, wood quality and the carving of each piece can make the difference between good, bad, better, best and masterpiece. So many times I’ve seen a Queen Anne chair made in the 18th century and I’ll say, ‘I wish the back (of this chair) was just a few inches taller. It would be perfect proportions. And the seat is a little too deep. I wish the S-shaped curve of the cabriole leg were a little more subtle. It’s too extreme.”

When my brother and I were about 12, we started comparing wrought iron hinges in upstate New York. The ones with more craftsmanship and beauty were crafted by blacksmiths in the early 19th century who tried their best to make whimsical, wonderful pieces using their imagination. So early on, we learned the art of grading pieces, looking at quality, construction, the wood, proportion, line and carving.

Some wrought iron hinges from the Keno Brothers' childhood collection, seen here featured in their book 'Hidden Treasures'

In this first collection, Reflection has a series of circular, mirrored, double plated glass discs that are a sort of aqua blue with a chrome base.

The shade is conical and layered. It’s proportionately perfect. Light reflects on these different levels, because the circles get wider at the top and bottom. It’s like a ball made of fluorine discs – a bit space-age effect, yet beautiful and reflective.”

These incredible lamps will be available for purchase at selected Keno Bros. gallery retailers in Spring 2012.

Contact us for more information.

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