Kathleen Koszyk: My philosophy is classic and clean. That’s how I dress. That’s how I look at design. It doesn’t matter if it’s contemporary, transitional or traditional. It has to have a classic, understated feeling — and be easily understood. My work begins by dreaming. I see a piece. I look at it. I watch it as I build it. I think first of proportion. The base has to anchor. The shade has to work with the scale of the base. Scale is important in everything, but it’s particularly important with style.
But I am also extremely aware of function. A lamp is a utility, and its function has to be right. For instance, I put dimmer switches, full dimmers, on every lamp in my collection. To me, nothing is more irritating than a beautiful setting where the lighting isn’t right. It’s better if you can have some control.
I like a lot of finishes. I can go anywhere from a high lacquer, which I love, all the way to a rustic feel. I love the warmth of metal. Even if I design very contemporary, I rarely make it cool. I find what fits the piece and works best. I love the natural feeling of stone. One stone piece is a study lamp for a library or den. Another looks like a fossil. It’s a horizontal piece above a block with a sea fan imprinted on it. It’s a grounded look. In Flower Power, I took carvings I had done a long time ago with flowers on the edges and over the corners. It’s soft, and there’s a great juxtaposition between that and the silk. The lamps have a feeling of permanence.
I don’t like too many bells and whistles, too many decorative things that don’t have any meaning. I want people to “get it” in a second. I enjoy designing that way. Sometimes it’s more difficult to make things that are simple and have wonderful interest. I’ve learned a lot from my customers. They will teach you, if you just listen to what they tell you about how they live and what they want. It’s not just about doing something because you’re a designer. You’re really trying to fulfill a purpose in what you’re doing.