From the set of “CBS This Morning” to the public library in Madison, Wisc., the custom light fixtures produced and sold by lighting company Lampa are distinctly North Fork.
Lampa’s owners, artists Cliff Baldwin and Marta Baumiller, have been creating custom light pieces out of their Aquebogue barn turned studio and home since 1997.
The couple discovered the North Fork by accident in 1989 after taking the Long Island Rail Road to the end of the line. They rented and eventually owned a home in Greenport before making the decision to move to the East End full time.
“I was sick of living in the city,” Baumiller said. “I wanted to be closer to nature, but still close to the city. It was the best of both worlds.”
Lampa was born in 1991 in a Brooklyn storefront rented out as studio space. The pair both trained as sculptors, as well as in costume design and composition. With the birth of Lampa, they moved into sculptural lighting pieces. They occupied spaces all over Brooklyn, from Park Slope to Red Hook, until they were eventually evicted from each and every one.
“All the places we’ve lived and worked have been turned into restaurants,” Baumiller said.
The North Fork became a refuge from an ever-changing Brooklyn. And with the majority of Lampa’s products being sold and shipped around the country, Baldwin and Baumiller had the flexibility to choose where they worked.
Since moving to the East End, the style of lamps the couple designs has evolved from hat-like cloth lights to lamps with fluid lines that reflect the landscape. The pieces have also grown in size, something Baumiller attributes to the creative clarity an environment like the North Fork can provide.
“We have the luxury of space here, mental and natural open spaces,” she said. “This has influenced the size of the pieces. In New York we had small apartments, crowded streets …”
Lampa sells mostly to designers and architects across the nation, so marketing locally hasn’t been a priority. But that doesn’t mean its owners aren’t involved in the community.
Baldwin is president, and Baumiller treasurer, of the Riverhead Music Boosters, where their 16-year-old daughter attends high school. They try to incorporate the arts when raising money, like with an upcoming scholarship fundraiser concert series titled “Works in Progress.”
“We want to be involved,” Baumiller said. “If you have the energy and will there’s a lot you can do to help and improve your community.”
The pair also tries to live and work in an environmentally sustainable way. They maintain sprawling gardens and keep honeybees, along with making their products as eco-friendly as possible — by sourcing low-impact woods and veneers, for example, and staying away from plastic.
“All our stuff has a green angle,” Baldwin said. “We’re using as many natural materials as possible.”
Lampa was recently invited to participate in and exhibit its creations at the first-ever Hamptons Contemporary design trade show. The show is intended to exhibit functional art pieces and décor for potential customers.
“This is one of the smaller design trade shows in the country, so we’re very particular as to who we have,” said Tara Berkoski, Hamptons Contemporary marketing manager. “We chose Lampa because they’re local and have interesting and custom designs. The show is about bringing people unique and interesting items.”
The Hamptons Contemporary trade show will take place June 3-5 at the Elks Fairgrounds in Southampton. For more information about Lampa, visit lampa.com.