Castor light fixtures rock bad-boy attitude
In a sea of symmetrical, ultramodern light fixtures that seem tailor-made for the meticulous tastes of Yaletown condo dwellers, Castor’s industrial-chic, rock ’n’ roll chandeliers tend to stand out in most lighting boutiques. But this honourable distinction is nothing new to Castor designers Brian Richer and Kei Ng.
Since launching their company in 2005, they’ve quickly become the street-cred darlings of high-end home accessories. Basically, if you’ve got money to spare, and you want to add instant New York grit to your loft, you call Castor.
As Richer explains it during a recent sit-down with the Straight at LightForm (1060 Homer Street), which carries his designs, this rise to home-décor fame was merely a product of their product.
“We just got a lot of press, started selling stuff, and decided we could do this full-time,” says Richer, a Toronto indie-rock fan with a gruff attitude, a taste for tight Ts, and a retro-inspired Michael Hutchence ’do. “People liked how we presented stuff. I think because it’s a little bit different than the pointy-shoe”¦Euro-trash designer stuff.”
Right now, Castor’s top-seller is the Recycled Tube Light ($2,100 to $3,200 depending on length). Made from dead fluorescent lights that have been bound together to form one big suspended tube, this supercool ceiling light leaves many asking the question, “Where’s the actual light coming from?” Well, there are regular live bulbs installed in the hollowed-out tunnel that give off a warm, even, and functional glow. You could rock this innovative bad boy over a big workplace area where brighter light is needed or a dining-room table, where moodier light is more of a priority.
Another standout is their Invisible Chandelier ($5,390 to $9,240), a bubbling cluster of burnt-out light bulbs that create one giant mismatched, multicolored mass that’s lit from within. These one-off works of art make for great statement pieces in just about any style of room, be it modern, retro, or otherwise.
For people who prefer cleaner lines, there’s the Castor Tank Light. These pendants are actually recycled fire extinguishers cut in half and repainted. You can buy a single light or combo sets of three, seven, or 15 ($495 to $3,756).
And then there’s “This is Not a F***ing Droog Light” ($1,100 to $2,220), which Richer sums up beautifully as “mood lighting for roadies”. Inspired by guitar pedals, here we have a main power box with one, three, or five aluminum-housed lights that can snake every which way at the end of their respective cord. The benefit is you can have light shining from multiple planes and angles—perfect for creating and re-creating the most flattering light possible in any rock ’n’ roll love shack.
With amped-up, edgy designs like these, it’s no wonder Castor has fans in indie-rock circles. Justin Peroff from Broken Social Scene, for example, reportedly digs Castor’s work. The feeling, unfortunately, is not mutual.
“I actually don’t like Broken Social Scene,” says Richer, adding, “and he [Peroff] knows that.”
As the company grows in popularity all over North America and now Europe, the biggest challenge for Richer and Ng is handling the business end of things and keeping up with the demand.
“It’s great,” says Richer, admitting there are worse problems to have. “It’s really different from where we were. I mean, we did all right how we were doing it before, but,” he adds, “this is kind of another level.”