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Where Do Museums Get Their Lighting?

A story of one company in Long Island City that designs and manufactures lighting for most museums and galleries that you know.

The last thing that comes to mind when looking at art at a gallery is lighting. Indeed if you’ve been to MoMA or Gagosian gallery, you’ve noticed that the art of good lighting is far from simply filling the room with lumens: it’s about balance, focus, and accents. Such lighting is so unique that it’s required to design the set at the location — with a group of light designers and specialists. For the last sixty five years, a quiet pioneer of light manufacturing, Edison Price Lighting, has been producing and designing lights for 450 musesums and galleries from around the world — all from their factory in Long Island City. I stopped by at the factory to capture how they do it.

The testing station where the final assembly happens

Edison Price Lighting makes every single piece of their lights at the factory: from prototyping to designing custom tools, press dies, and parts down to the smallest nuts and bolts.

The process of making a light starts at a special workshop on the ground floor that makes custom press dies

Cheat sheet for the machine operator

The manufacturing on the floor is divided into sections marked alphabetically
Custom dies hand-numbered and ready to be taken into production
Tools used to hand-shape metal parts
A steel part that will be used as part of the light: before and after shaping
All-aluminum bars as they arrive to the factory
A special milling machine works with aluminum parts

Aluminum shavings left after production

Spray painting the light cases with enamel paint gives them delightful soft matte finish

Final assembly and testing

Research and development floor where new lights are being created from scratch

 

Select projects by Edison Price Lighting

David Zwirner Gallery, NYC
Gagosian Gallery, LA
Brooklyn Museum, NYC
Met Breuer, NYC

Edison Price Lighting Gallery
4150 22 St., Long Island City
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