April 1, 2005
Brooklyn-based Lite Brite Neon Studio playfully subverts the
perception that neon is tacky.
Lite Brite Neon Studio (LBNS) made a splash last October when Brooklyn design store the Future Perfect started selling its white neon fixture in the outline of a traditional chandelier. More recently founder Matt Dilling added the colorful Wall Sconce to the company’s product offerings. With yellow “shades” and a blue tip, the sconce more fully exploits neon’s best characteristics—incorporating not only its sculptural potential, but also the way hues can fuse together. Consumer goods may be new territory for Dilling, but the medium is not. “I started Lite Brite in 1999,” he says. “I did—and still do—a lot of vi-sual merchandising work for the high-end fashion industry. One of the first projects we got was a Diane von Furstenberg show.”
Much of the Brooklyn-based studio’s minimalist work playfully subverts the perception that neon is tacky. LBNS’s 2003 installation for retro designer Stella McCartney’s Manhattan boutique window was a rainbow that—positioned against the reflecting pool inside—created the illusion of a full circle. For Calvin Klein’s New York and Paris showrooms, the tubes were used to render bedroom furniture on a wall behind underwear-clad mannequins. But a 2003 project for performance artists Fischerspooner—an eight-foot-square re-creation of their logo—may be the studio’s greatest feat. “They wanted to be able to individually dim each section,” Dilling says. “There are twenty-four separate dimming channels operated with a remote control. We had only a week to produce it and get it to Naples for a gallery show.”