Carlton Haney, designer:
First of all, timing is everything. I was so very fortunate that this irresistible art glass was brought to my attention. It is so incredibly beautiful and translucent, and the colors are so vibrant. I had some samples sent to me and showed them to John Manceau, President of Ariel. He said, “Well, what can we do with this?” I said, “Why don’t we do a drop-dead, stunning new art glass lamp line?” Other people are doing art glass today, but finding exceptionally good-quality art glass is very hard. A lot of it is very thin. This, on the other hand, is very thick, heavy art glass and simply captivating visually.
My primary design goal was to make each piece very expressive with a free-flowing form and utilizing my own color pigments. The color palette is extremely important—so much so that not only our designs but also our colors are copyrighted and exclusive to Ariel.
Ultimately, I wanted each piece of art glass to stand on its own merit, so I decided to put a night light inside to illuminate the base. It’s a four-way switch. When you turn the switch the first time, the base is illuminated. When you turn it a second time, the shade is lit. The third time, both the shade and base are illuminated.
Like all of Ariel’s new art glass lamps, Iris Delight features a four-way switch, so that the shade and base can be illuminated together or independently of one another.
As for the shades, each one is hand-painted. We actually ship two shades with each base—an off-white shade and another that has been hand-painted specifically to enhance the lamp base. You can see and feel the texture of the paint on the shade. We use Ariel’s exclusive Giclar finish, which means that the canvas—or in this case the lamp shade—is touched up with brush strokes and palette knife work. My designs for the hand-painted shades were inspired by [Ariel’s] beautiful collection of art.
The initial group included 27 lamps, and I have just finished an additional 25. The new line for October is a 100 percent turnaround [from the summer debut] in that it will not be so contemporary. It will implement great-looking traditional designs combining iron and other natural materials with the art glass as a focal point.
One of Ariel’s best-selling art glass colors is cobalt blue, which is shown to great effect on the Monte Carlo Blue table lamp. Each art glass lamp comes with two shades—a plain, off-white shade and another that has been hand-painted to complement the base.
This new line for Ariel has really taken off and far exceeded our expectations. You know, it is so rare when everything comes together at the same time—material, form and color. But I think, in this case, that happened. I also think the line has done well for the simple fact that beautiful glass remains as intriguing today as it has been for the last 2000 years.