WE'VE HEARD MORE than enough about Southwest style and California style. But how about L.A. style? No product exemplifies that narrow niche more than Zink, a table lamp made by Venice-based Ron Rezek Lighting & Furniture.
The 21-inch-high, 14-inch-diameter lamp has a cone-shaped shade and cylindrical base. Its steel parts are dipped into a tub of molten zinc, which turns the surface bright and silvery. Then a clear sealant is applied to keep the surface from oxidizing to a dull battleship gray within a few months.
The spangled look is what all the fuss is about. The muted metal appearance of Zink lamp's galvanized steel helped set a trend in metal finishes away from shiny, polished brass and chrome. The lamp's "natural" finishes include archeological-looking rusty verde and verdigris, and "retro" finishes emulating Art Deco and the early '50s: galvanized zinc and copper hammer tone, with a handmade look implying a reaction against the frantic, high-tech pace of our lives.
Rezek, 43, studied industrial design at UCLA, after which he redesigned the typical orange, torpedo-shaped float used by lifeguards to rescue swimmers foundering in the surf; his float can be seen on beaches around the world. Rezek's 1982 Orbis halogen reading lamp was featured in the High Styles design exhibit at New York's Whitney Museum in 1985. The Zink entered production a year later. "I was influenced by the Frank Gehry undercurrent here in L.A.," he says, referring to that designer's penchant for "cheapskate" architecture using inexpensive industrial materials such as corrugated fiberglass, raw metal and chain-link fence.
The Zink lamp's hand-dipped galvanizing process leaves some lamps mottled and spotty, others with drips and runs. Rezek terms the aesthetic "contemporary rustic."
The trouble is, such finishes never look quite finished. So, to avoid confusion, Rezek says, "I added brass detailing to signal that the lamp is complete and intended to look the way it does."
The Zink table lamp retails for $259 at Blueprint, Los Angeles, (213) 653-2439, and Lighthouse Lighting, Los Angeles, (213) 658-8863. It also comes in versions that hang from the ceiling or from the wall.