Swayed by the Shade - Page 2

Three enterprising artisans who keep the modern spirit alive with authentic replicas of mid-century lampshades
Swayed by the Shade
Modilumi’s Lex Winger in his Twin Cities studio.
Swayed by the Shade
From Modilumi, a 1950s lamp topped with a striking pink fiberglass shade.
Swayed by the Shade
Swayed by the Shade
Two fascinating lampshade designs from Modilumi.

MODILUMI

As an owner of a printing business for 32 years, Lex Winger discovered firsthand that he could print lampshade designs directly onto fiberglass sheeting and fabrics using his digital press, sort of like a giant inkjet printer.

The concept became integral to the everyday operation of Modilumi, the design studio, and eventual lamp and lampshade retail location, Winger began in 2014 in Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

"We've had customers send us pictures of their grandparents' lamp, and we've reproduced the lampshade for them," says Winger. "There's a lot of sentiment with that, and it's very rewarding."

When Winger has a new idea, by using a computer graphics program he can readily build his idea from scratch and print it out. "Sometimes it's a hit," he admits, "and sometimes it's a dud. You just never know. But if it's good, it sells; and I'm happy with that."

In Twin Cities, where mid-century modern remains popular, Winger opened a retail outlet in early 2019 to complement his design studio. Today, Modilumi not only serves the niche market with lamps and reproduction 1950s fiberglass-style shades, he balances those vintage designs with new, contemporary themes that are clean and simple—"so there's something to please everyone."

Modilumi restores vintage lamps to look like new, and designs new lamps that are custom formed from a wood mix. The company fabricates lampshades out of rice paper, grass cloth, upholstery fabrics, and other materials.

The company can even create shades for Majestic lamps, the unique and dramatic multi-tier lighting fixtures produced by the Majestic Lamp and Radio Company in the 1950s.

"Majestics are a real challenge," Winger admits. "However, they're the 'Holy Grail' of all lamps—they're the most spectacular, truly works of art. It's very time consuming and expensive—but I'm happy to say, yes, we can do Majestics."