September 15, 2017

Bec Brittain Revisits Mercury, Her Most Personal Work Yet

Bec Brittain’s Mercury in suede, LED tubes, and stone, flanked by Alex P. White’s Creatures lounge chairs in velvet. Photography by Lauren Coleman.

Bec Brittain has amassed a following for her clean-lined lighting fixtures that touch upon darker themes. Very few of her fans have ever seen Mercury, what she describes as a career-defining work. That’s because the installation has sat in storage since Patrick Parrish Gallery showcased it at DesignMiami/ in 2015. Due for a revisit, Mercury will again enter the spotlight in “Strange Days,” a group show with like-minded designers Material Lust and Alex P. White at Brittain’s Manhattan showroom.

Brittain with Mercury. Photography by Lauren Coleman.

“Mercury is a very personal and evocative piece for me, and I wanted to tell more of a story around it,” says Brittain, who previewed two strands of the installation at Egg Collective’s “Designing Women” show during NYCxDESIGN. Equal parts monumental and moody, Mercury is held together by 35 strands of suede affixed with LED tubes and obsidian, jasper, and agate beads. “It grew out of wanting to work with more sensual materials and making something more handcrafted,” she says. “The piece as a whole creates an architectural statement that is also warm and welcoming.”

Alex P White, Bec Brittain, and Christian Swafford and Lauren Larson of Material Lust. Photography by Lauren Coleman.

Artfully situated throughout the showroom, lush furnishings and textured objects by Material Lust and Alex P. White mimic Mercury’s angular geometry. “Both designers experiment in the same spaces that Mercury does—work centered around material and form at its heart, but that is also challenging and provocative,” says Brittain. These include two of White’s spray-dyed Creatures lounge chairs and Material Lust’s Twin Peak Sofa, both in velvet. Scattered throughout, citrus fruits tattooed with celestial imagery and crystalline forms replace traditional centerpieces. “This is a story about weirdos. But the more important message is about sensuality and determined vision.”

Bec Brittain’s Twin Vise and Helix fixtures hang above Alex P White’s Betwixt Bench. Photography by Lauren Coleman.
Bec Brittain’s Echo pendant above Material Lust’s Vanishing Twin chair. In the foreground, Material Lust’s Alchemy table. Photography by Lauren Coleman.
Bec Brittain’s Shy pendant above Material Lust’s Twin Peak sofa. Behind, two strands of Mercury. Photography by Lauren Coleman.

“Strange Days” will display at Brittain’s NYC showroom, located at 27 West 20th St. #1100, until October 13.

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