Iris_floorlamp_seriesLamps designed by Lightexture, a company co-founded by Yael Erel ’13, a current adjunct professor in the School of Architecture, have earned more than $32,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. Four Lightexture lamps and objects that project “light drawings” will appear in a group exhibition titled “Lit” at the Albany International Airport starting March 28, with a grand opening on April 10.

The lamp series is an outgrowth of “Subliminal Transcriptions,” Erel’s graduate research in architecture and light. Handmade by the Troy-based company, the “Iris” lamp has two apertures of overlapping metal leaves that can be adjusted to control the amount of light and reflections it casts. The patented design draws inspiration from a stainless steel vegetable steamer, according to Lightexture co-founder Avner Ben Natan.


Lightexture co-founders Yael Erel ’13 and Avner Ben Natan.

As one aperture on the Iris lamp opens, the other closes. When the lower aperture is fully open, light shines directly down, casting textured golden light onto the surface below. When the upper aperture is open, patterned light shines upward and bounces off the ceiling to fill the space with a warm, indirect light. The transition between these two provides a variety of reflections and light atmospheres. The Iris lamps give the user the ability to change the light and create the atmosphere in the room.

Ben Natan and Erel have developed prototypes of four Iris lamp styles, available in brass or stainless steel: a floor lamp, a desk lamp, a small pendant, and a large pendant. The couple launched the Kickstarter campaign to expand production capacity, and met their initial goal in less than two days. Under the terms of Kickstarter campaigns, fund seekers are required to set a financial goal and deadline and can collect pledges only if the campaign reaches the goal before the deadline. The Kickstarter campaign was so successful it has been selected as a “Kickstarter Staff Pick.”

“We were very moved by the support this project has been getting,” said Erel. “We never imagined we would reach our goal in only 31 hours.”

Erel is a licensed architect in New York and registered architect in Israel. She graduated with honors from the Cooper Union School of Architecture, and earned a master’s degree in architecture with an emphasis on lighting from Rensselaer. Erel is currently teaching at Rensselaer with support from the 2015 Brown Travel Fellowship for her research project “Constructing Reflections.”