Designer Michelle Steinback has a knack for imbuing classic modern lines with unparalleled texture and shine. Two years ago, when we asked her to collaborate with us on Rejuvenation-exclusive lights, Cedar & Moss, her late-night basement-incubated business, was brand spanking new. Since that first line of globe pendants, sconces, and lamps, Cedar & Moss has shown the design world who's boss, and we've added a new line of linen and porcelain lights. We've also turned the original pendants into fetching chandeliers.
5 questions. 5 lights. The Cedar & Moss chandelier.Though we work together closely, we still have a few questions for her. Five to be exact.
Flirting with sparkle and shine doesn't mean you're cheating on minimalism.Q1: Can you talk a little bit about what the process is like when you work collaboratively with Rejuvenation?
A: I usually present a range of conceptual designs. Selections are made and then we move forward into design development. Once I have the designs worked out my final hand-drawings are converted to 3D drawings by the Rejuvenation lighting team so that engineering and prototyping can begin. We collaborate on details, scale and materials. Since the Rejuvenation team is so talented, it's an enjoyable process.
Handfinishing at our NW Portland factory.Q2: You have a luxe take on modern. How do these two impulses come through in your work?
A: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Clean lines, compositional balance, and beautiful materials have a refined presence. While some modern design can be overly industrial or cold, I have a more feminine sensibility where curves, considered details, and lovely finishes hopefully make the designs warm and elegant.
Bent brass offers a nod to historical lighting design that predates modernism. The Wright Brothers bike shop features bent brass chandeliers that were American ingenuity's answer to to heavy wrought iron versions popular in Europe.Q3: What part does the natural world in general, and the Pacific Northwest in particular, play in your aesthetic, your work, and your life?
A: I live at the edge of a forest on the outskirts of Portland. The forest helps me appreciate both the macro and micro. Beauty and wonder are as easily found in the soaring tall trees as they are in tiniest lichen or moss. Forest life probably influences me subconsciously; I may be more sensitive to creating quiet designs that layer well into a larger context. More than anything, living in a quiet, wild natural setting helps me focus my priorities. The forest reminds me not to burn myself out and to enjoy life.
The forest is always close at hand in the Pacific Northwest.Q4: Sconces seem to be back in a big way. What are your favorite places to use them?
A: I just counted and there are 54 hardwired sconces in my house plus 7 exterior sconces. No joke! Obviously I am guilty of loving sconces and bright spaces. My favorite place to use them is in repetition every three to four feet down a long wall on a dimmer switch. This gives incredible lighting level flexibility in the room and the rhythm of a row of sconces makes such a lovely statement.
Our engineers worked with Steinback to design a brass ring that holds two shades that look like one.
Q5: What Rejuvenation furniture, hardware, and accessories do you think pair best with Cedar & Moss lights?
A: Love the Thornburn, Butte Cone and Haleigh lights and think they pair well with the Cedar & Moss collection. Crushing over the SYMBOL audio stereo console. The Carrara Marble Kitchen sink is incredible. Love the Stand Series of Lamps by Brendon Farrell. Each of these products are made of beautiful materials and have a quiet and elegant presence.
Is Steinback considering her next light or her next walk in the woods? Probably both.