Dark arts: Bec Brittain’s bewitching exhibition casts a spell on us

Dark arts: Bec Brittain’s bewitching exhibition casts a spell on us

New York designer Bec Brittain often draws on celestial and metaphysical references in her sculptural, otherworldly lighting pieces in brass and coloured glass. But for ‘Mercury’ (2015) the architecture-trained talent sought to reconnect with a more tactile material palette.

The all-black design – comprising 35 strands of LED lights interspersed with obsidian, jasper, and agate beads and a sensual heaping of leather and suede tassels – is the centrepiece for ‘Strange Days’, a group exhibition at her studio featuring work by Alex P White and design duo Material Lust.

Although Patrick Parrish Gallery debuted ‘Mercury’ at Design Miami two years ago, ‘other than those four days, it’s been in storage’, says Brittain, who relocated her workspace from Brooklyn to Manhattan’s bustling NoMad neighbourhood earlier this spring. ‘Now that we finally have a space to install it in, we’re excited to show it—it’s one of my favourite pieces: this is sort of the dark, moody side of me.’

Bec Brittain with Alex P White and design duo Material Lust

To complement the installation, Brittain called on her friends to share works that would resonate with 'Mercury', configured here in a monumental, triangular arrangement draped from floor to ceiling. Flanked by a pair of armchairs by White (a former lead collaborator of Kelly Behun) and velvet furnishings and Wicca chic seating by Material Lust, the atmosphere is decidedly moody, an elegant paean to some pagan spirit, perhaps, and a spellbinding celebration of dark-hued forms.

Brittain’s own handiwork – she created, knotted and braided each of the leather tassel strands herself – is a throwback to her early jewellery collections, consisting of large knotted rope necklaces and body harnesses she characterises as ‘daytime bondage’. She certainly has roped us in.