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Behind the Design: The Designers Behind Visual Comfort

Behind the Design:
The Designers Behind
Visual Comfort

Wide-ranging in aesthetic and originality, Visual Comfort brings a stable of some of the best names in the industry--here, we meet seven names that help this beloved brand define its style.

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Having collaborated with world-renowned designers for several decades, Visual Comfort’s lighting collection is vast and eclectic, spanning from rugged transitional to modern luxury. Their pantheon of creators is equally vast and eclectic, each person offering a unique take on lighting that incorporates natural materials and distinctive hand-applied finishes. Here, we say hello to seven of their celebrated designers, pinning down their style, design tenets and philosophies that fuel this one-of-a-kind brand.

E.F. Chapman

One cannot discuss Visual Comfort design without first referring to E.F. Chapman, who has been their Chief Designer since 1996. He was responsible for their first signature line of products, known as Chart House, which showcases a series of traditionally inspired pendants and sconces. And, he continues to bring a classically influenced style to the table, serving as the core contributor to more traditional lines, like the extensive lantern-influenced Darlana family.

Thomas O’Brien

Designer and merchant Thomas O’Brien is another crucial personality in the Visual Comfort universe, building pieces that transcend the typical traditional and modern divide. His influences span a broad terrain of distinct styles, including antique, industrial and, of course, modern. With each product built he strives to bring out a sense of luxury as well as other unforeseen aesthetic qualities. The Goodman family is great example of this, blending refinement with an otherwise industrial look.


AERIN, otherwise known as Aerin Lauder, is a designer obsessed with the glamour of the old world and midcentury European design. And yet, she approaches each piece with a degree of pragmatism often synonymous with modernism. Her self-titled collection combines a sense of traditional elegance with a casual, approachable appearance. Consider, if you will, her Frankfort Wall Sconce, which showcases a refined linen shade supported by a slim adjustable arm with a mahogany accent. Its function is entirely straightforward, free of the intimidating bells and whistles common with old world pieces.

Kelly Wearstler

Celebrated interior designer Kelly Wearstler brings a playful spontaneity to Visual Comfort, mixing colors and shapes, influences and styles, to create a look entirely her own. (One need only see her geometric Cleo family, with its Art Deco meets Memphis mixing of shapes and tones to get a real appreciation for Wearstler’s unique touch.) If there’s a reliable through-line connecting her products, it would be her signature soulful vibe (as distinct as a personal signature) that she mastered with her luxury lifestyle brand.

Barbara Barry

Barbara Barry is the queen of simple, elegant lighting. Her style zeroes in on the fundamental qualities of lines and curves, paring down form until each piece lives in harmony with the surrounding environment. Her philosophy is, “Nothing stands alone, but lives in harmony with its surroundings.” This axiom is clearly exemplified in her Reflection line, which combines a classic drum shade made of silk with a clear convex glass lens for a more sophisticated look.

Peter Bristol

Industrial designer Peter Bristol focuses on the balance between form and function, creating products that look as though they’ve always belonged but, for some reason or another, had not yet been brought out of the ether. Though practical by natural, he regularly pushes the boundaries of this balance, building pieces that function in an entirely unique way, thus becoming inherently recognizable. Take, for example, the Dot family, which is both functional and decorative, offering a warm, evenly diffuse light that is so practical, you’ll wonder why it had never been thought of before.

Kate Spade New York

Kate Spade New York’s motto is, “Buy what you love, and you’ll never go wrong.” And so, as you can imagine, the brand mixes and matches styles that are both sophisticated and fun, creating pieces that feel more like a friend than a fixture. Their luxurious Dickinson line fits this profile easily, drawing inspiration from the classic mid-century modern Sputnik design with an expansive array of clear glass pieces and cream pearls.

As you can see, Visual Comfort is a veritable patchwork of designers and innovators all looking to leave their imprint on the lighting business. By merging these creative minds together, this brand is specially equipped to provide an almost endless selection of products that are both affordable and of the highest quality. And, like all successful companies, they continue to grow. They continue to collaborate, bringing more and more accomplished designers into the fold, promising even more innovative and downright dazzling products down the road.