Accent Home Magazine - Its all in the Lighting
David Tonnesen of Somerville, Massachusetts, uses his artistic talents to create unusual, custom lighting for homes and restaurants.

“There are two parts, form and function,” he says. ``The function part is the light, but mostly people are concerned about how the fixture looks.” “I look at it as sculpture,” he adds. David often plays the role of problemsolver. “For example,” he says, “lighting has been designed for a dining room and it just doesn’t work. They need more light or want a piece that stands out.

“The dining room table size determines what goes on,” he adds. “Huge tables need a long chandelier with several light sources, six, eight, or twelve.” Another challenge, he says, is, “A lot of homes have huge entry foyers that are 30- feet high and they don’t know what to put there.” One solution might be sconces, which make the space more intimate. David, who is a metal sculptor, says, “sconces are big in every room,” except kitchens.

“They can be a point of interest and look good off as well as on,” he says. “I love perforated metal or screens on sconces. It casts an amazing shadow and changes the feel of a room.” He also likes lighting fixtures that are asymmetrical—such as lights that snake down over a kitchen island—because they stand out against the geometric lines of a room. Even light bulbs become sculpture to David. One of his favorite designs is a bulb wrapped in monofilament, which is like clear fishing line. “It’s one of the few bulbs that wouldn’t need a shade,” he explains. “It gives sparkle, but doesn’t blind you. It’s a whole different feel. When it’s dim, it’s threedimensional and the inside looks like a flame.”

David said color kinetics can be used to create mood and interest, such as a sculpture lit from within, with color that changes subtlety. “Usually the client determines how far we go,” he says. “I have proposed color changing and things that move and there seems to be a lot of potential, then reality kicks in. It’s That was fun, but let’s focus.’

“I work within budgets,” he says. But, he adds, “People tend to save up for something special.” “It’s exciting,” he says. “There’s so much more than what’s offered at Home Depot.”

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