Best Lamp '06
GQ's Best Stuff '06 list is out, and among our picks for your home is Roberto Cárdenas's lovely Corner Lamp.
The premise of the lamp is so rational (it's essentially a traditional floor lamp, quartered) that I expected Cárdenas to have a certain Swedish practicality to him. After we met, though, I realized that Cárdenas—a painter, poet, and former high school teacher—is all heart. "If I have to choose between beauty and function, I will always choose beauty," he told me.
It's often the simplest designs that are the hardest to pull off (there is nothing to distract your eye, so the details must be perfect). In this case, it took a great deal of trial and error to manufacture the lampshade's unique frame and upholster it so the seams would be unobtrusive.
What makes the design resonate for me is that it manages to be unquestionably novel, while at the same time staying rooted in the familiar. And knowing how much attention went into creating such a seemingly simple object only makes me appreciate it more.