Lighting is core to Rockwell Group’s DNA, with the interplay of illumination and shadow central to the firm’s interiors, architecture, and stage sets. Ten years ago, the team translated that expertise into a lighting collection for 54-year-old Italian manufacturer Leucos. But times and technology have changed. “Relatively young companies know how to create beautiful, high-quality fixtures,” says Rockwell Group founder David Rockwell, “and LEDs have significantly improved.” The firm took both considerations into account for two new commercial lighting collections, each created with an unexpected partner.

Comprising a pair of ADA-compatible sconces and four variants of a chandelier/pendant, the David Rockwell with Rich Brilliant Willing (RBW) collection pairs the firm with the upstart New York manufacturer that designs and produces fixtures in its Brooklyn workshop. RBW had approached Rockwell Group with the idea of collaborating on lighting products “that would be closer to real-life use ... something an architect would specify,” says RBW cofounder Theo Richardson. Rising to the challenge, the Rockwell team designed a “modular, metal-and-glass kit of parts that could be assembled in different geometries,” explains Rockwell Group principal and studio leader Barry Richards. The fixtures will debut at ICFF and be available through RBW’s website and showrooms. 

Rockwell Group’s line for the Istanbul-based tabletop brand Gaia & Gino came about in a similarly serendipitous manner. “I was chatting with David [Rockwell] about what was missing in the hospitality market,” says founder Gaye Cevikel, “and he answered, ‘I cannot find nice table lamps.’ So I said, ‘OK. Would you design some for us?’ ”

Fast-forward four years to last month’s Salone del Mobile, where Gaia & Gino unveiled the results: two curved-steel lamps and a lighted side table/stool. Each handcrafted piece will be available this autumn exclusively through Casa International.

Customized versions of both product lines will be included in future Rockwell projects, says Rockwell’s Richards. But don’t expect the firm to set up a storefront anytime soon. “We’ll showcase and promote the pieces,” Richards explains. “But we’re designers, not sellers.”