Richmond lighting designer Wendy Umanoff conjures modern creations, often made from vintage finds
Wendy Umanoff’s first big lighting commission was a dream assignment. Asked to design a chandelier for The Valentine museum store in Richmond, she searched through the museum’s archives. Among historical objects donated by local families, Umanoff gravitated toward the toys. “I wanted it to be playful, an inviting focus for people walking in,” she recalls.
The chandelier she designed in 2014 continues to charm. Like a lighthearted scaffold, it furnishes a perch for painted-wood cardinals—alighting on top, surrounded by swirls of crystal and seen through a metal frame resembling a wire cage. The piece hints at Umanoff’s characteristic style with its blend of vintage and new parts and pieces assembled as in an airy, illuminated sculpture. “My sensibility is eclectic,” says the designer. “I love combining reclaimed and industrial pieces with modern.”
In The Valentine’s whimsical chandelier,