Founded in 2014, Lex Zee Design specializes in custom lighting. Pulling inspiration from utilitarianism, each made-to-order fixture balances materiality and geometry in a beautiful harmony that communicates both form and function. Hand-assembled with a great attention to detail, Lex Zee Design’s lighting is offered in a variety of finishes.
As the third of i+s’ ongoing series on craftspeople and makers—released every other Monday—founder Lex Zee, responding from his New York City studio, answers our questions, from the toughest part of the maker process to why he’d pitch a design from the highest point of the tri-state area.
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Designer Lex Zee
What inspires you?
I find myself being very inspired by how things are made. I never design a piece and then figure out how to manufacture it. I often have a fabrication technique in mind and then see how that process can lend itself to an end product. My love for manufacturing has become an integral part of my design process.
I also gain inspiration from the inherent beauty found in utilitarian objects. The idea that an object designed solely to be practical can also boast visual charm is a concept that has heavily influenced my work. I like to find ornament in function and strive to have the aesthetic components of my work also serve a purpose.
Tools of the trade: Metal pieces are often left exposed in Lex Zee Design's lights.
What is the hardest part of the creative process?
I find the hardest part of my creative process is doing less. I get very excited by materials, hardware & finishes, and nature; I want to incorporate it all. Stripping down my work is the hardest part of my process but ultimately leaves me with an end product I love.
What’s your favorite color?
I am constantly made fun of for the excessive lack of color that surrounds me. When I do use color it is often muted and subtle. With my work, I find myself gravitating towards the colors found naturally in the materials I’m working with. I feel this allows the materials to speak for themselves and results in a more genuine piece.
The beauty of bare: The minimalistic aesthetic of Zee's designs allows the natural color of the metals to add authenticity to his designs.
Do you have any rituals for getting out of a design rut?
I have one design ritual that I perform whenever I’m hung up on a piece: I put the work on my nightstand before I go to bed. I find myself conquering most design hurdles while lying in bed. Something as simple as taking a project out of the studio and seeing it in a different space sometimes does the trick. If that doesn’t work, I will usually try to find the highest point in the tri-state area, throw the project off of it, and never speak of it again.
The Taupe Collection uses texture and shape to give the pieces their individuality.
What do you think is next for the interior design industry?
It would feel quite bold to say I know what’s next for the entirety of the interior design industry, but I can say I really appreciate the eclectic nature of the direction it's going. I enjoy how it's becoming harder to find the vocabulary to classify a space. Design styles are merging and creating spaces that don’t fit into any category. I hope to see more of that.
Where can people find your goods?
All LZ design products can be found and purchased at lexzeedesign.com. To get more involved with the process and see new projects and one-off pieces, check out lexzeedesign on Instagram.
Glass and metal combine to create the Parcell Collection.