Lighting the Future
Words by Erin Austen Abbott
Photos by Robert Peterson
If there are two things that Brian Patrick Flynn is passionate about, it is design and travel. He loves creating spaces for his clients that reflect who they are, bringing them to live their best lives within their homes. As for travel, Brian says that geography is the biggest inspiration behind his designs, and traveling is the only way to bring it indoors.
He has discovered how to bring the hard-to-reach places into people’s homes by way of his newest lighting collections for Crystorama Lighting. Crystorama Lighting is an award-winning interior design and manufacturing house based out of Westbury, New York, with more than five decades of experience—and it’s in its second generation of familial ownership.
Adding ‘“industrial designer” to the lengthy list of work he does well, Brian collaborated with Crystorama to create two new collections, indoor and outdoor, for consumers to decorate their homes with. The versatility of his fixtures comes from the many materials used in their creation—brass, metals, acrylics,the list goes on. His collections reflect his travels, as if you are following him on a map, and some are even named after objects and natural events. “My glacier collection is absolutely the result of all of my polar adventures, from Greenland to Antarctica. The overall shape is iceberg-like, and the frosted-glass insert option feels icy and fresh,” Brian describes.
When approached by Crystorama for the collaboration, he reminded them that he’s self-taught. Brian picked up the art of color theory, learned how to adapt space to scale, and discovered how to create proportions that are pleasing to the eye while working behind the scenes on various design-based television shows. Even so, thanks to his impressive portfolio of work, they trusted him to take care of the design aspects, and he worked with them on the technical side of production. In the end, they came together to create a beautiful line of lighting. Pulling inspiration from his travels around the world, Brian created a design topography based on his favorite landscapes and brought it to market. “The chalky black basalt columns and cliffs of Iceland are so striking and unforgettable, I decided to use them as the main finish for my indoor and outdoor lines—matte black with depth and edge,” Brian shared.
Brian’s favorite light fixture is the Truax 3 because of its faux-glass (it’s actually acrylic) sphere, large at 30 inches, with an aged brass ring keeping the chandelier in place. For this piece in particular, Brian was inspired by the nostalgic shapes of the 50s—round light fixtures one would find in an old department store or diner—but wanted something that wasn’t as fragile. Thus, he replaced what would have been glass with acrylic, making shipment and delivery of the piece easier and safer.
When asked where he would want to see his interior and industrial design work next, he provided a two-part answer. Brian would love to do a whole home design for actor Maya Rudolph, due to her sense of style, wit, and all around fun demeanor, but he would also love to see his lights in an all-glass, prefab kit home, on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.
To hear Brian talk is to visualize his thoughts and understand his perspective even better. He treats design the same way—putting thoughts and adventures on paper, transforming them into products. “The Hulton fixture is the most architectural, and it’s all about the intersection lines,” he shares. “When I was a kid, I became obsessed with the word ‘perpendicular,’ and, for some reason, I wanted a fixture that kind of materialized, and there you have it, the perpendicular lines of the Hulton!”
“I don’t want my design work to ever get stale or to have too much of the same look project-to-project,” Brian says. “So the moment I wrap one, I head somewhere far, far away for a fresh perspective on architecture, materials, fabrication, and lifestyle.” It’s that sense of exploration that has led Brian to move throughout different areas of design, continuously evolving his craft and sense of place.
For instance, he’s been fascinated with Tasmania since he was a child. “When I get back from there, it’s likely you’ll see some Australian influence in my designs, from colors and shapes to textures and finishes, and then, of course, maybe even super primal patterns,” Brian suggests. “I start adventure travel looking for a new experience in a place I’ve never been, and then I end it with a fresh perspective on color, texture, materials, architecture, and lifestyle. One feeds the other. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”