Daniel Grady Faires on Old Stuff

inspiration-advice-decorating-diy-Faires Behold the power of Pinterest: we spotted an image of our industrial cage fixture, the Ironside. The pinner was Daniel Grady Faires, an industrial and interior designer who selected our fixtures for Interstate Food & Liquor, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Then we discovered that Faires is an accomplished DIYer regularly featured on HGTV.com, and a lover of all things salvage. A kindred spirit if ever there was one, we tracked Faires down to get to know him better.


REJUVE: Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement in Interstate Food & Liquor?

FAIRES: IF&L is definitely a collaboration with owner Andy Boose. Andy loves anything that could be referred to as “art.” He is definitely a visionary, but he isn’t afraid to let other artists express themselves.

REJUVE: Why is it important to you to incorporate salvage materials into your designs?

FAIRES: There’s a feeling associated with it, a comfort that isn’t forced, an authenticity to the way that it looks, a certain character that can’t be replicated, a story behind it. My job is not only to preserve that history and share the story, but to find a creative way to incorporate [salvage] into functional pieces that are still relevant.

REJUVE: Could you speculate as to why so many people seem to be turning toward the craftsmanship of the past as a model for how to move into the future?

FAIRES: People now have a genuine interest in the way that things are and were made, and the story behind the process. It’s natural to reference the past, because the quality of craftsmanship was far superior back then. In my work as an industrial designer, there is this constant battle between form and function. Back then, function always trumped form, and I think that people now appreciate the authenticity and simplicity of the way things were designed and made to last.

REJUVE: How did you decide to incorporate the Ironside into your design for IF&L? What spoke to you about it?

FAIRES: The Ironside was the perfect choice in that space because of the high ceilings – the light elevates your eye upwards and the scale is perfect. But ultimately, the Ironside captured Andy’s heart because it was reminiscent of the old gas lanterns found all over NYC. I live two blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge and jog and bike over it often, and noticed that the same globes (converted to electric now) still line the bridge, which I thought was pretty amazing! Ultimately, these lights are the perfect balance between old and new, and they evoke a “feeling,” which is very important in design.

REJUVE: How do you think lighting, both the fixtures themselves and the quality of light they cast, help create the feel of a space? Any advice you’d give someone about what they should keep in mind when choosing lighting?

FAIRES: The lighting design within a space is as crucial as the design itself. And like all elements of design, it’s all about finding the perfect balance between form and function. The three types of lighting in order of importance are general (or ambient), accent, and task. Ambient lighting is the most important because everything from the aesthetic of the piece, to the amount of light it emits creates a “mood” within a space. I always suggest choosing these lights first, always putting them on a dimmer, and then choosing the rest of the fixtures around these pieces. Accent lights are more about flooding certain areas of the space with light to provide focus on specific elements or pieces within the design. And task lighting is all about function over form. But an important thing to keep in mind is that task lighting should never overpower or distract from ambient or accent lighting.