Q&A with Josh Neretin of Buoyant NYC

by New York Spaces

NYS:  Where are you based?

Josh Neretin of Buoyant NYC:  I’m based in Brooklyn, NY.

NYS:  How did you get your start designing lighting?

Buoyant NYC:  After receiving my BFA from SUNY Purchase I returned to New York City where I worked as a fabricator for artists and museums, continuing to do my own work at the same time. Over the years I moved into high-end residential and retail project management. Directing the work of other artisans in support of a designer’s vision focused my attention on the use of materials, especially lighting design, choice, and placement.

I had learned to work in glass as a teen and now found my interest in that medium revived. Amazingly, there are two local hot glass shops in my Brooklyn neighborhood. At first I went with my kids to teach them how to blow glass. But soon I found it was light fixture design that was really calling me. For the past few years I’ve been fabricating my own designs, incorporating LED lamps with hand-blown glass.

NYS:  Where does the name of your company stem from?

Buoyant NYC:  Sometimes as I’m working on a design I’ll hang it in our living room to get a sense of it in a home, and to get feedback from family and friends. My wife looked at one piece and said it looked “happy, floating, … buoyant.”

NYS:  Do you prefer working on residential or commercial interiors? Why?

Buoyant NYC:  I like them both equally—for different reasons.

Commercial interiors can offer more physical space to create. Sometimes a fixture becomes the centerpiece of a beautiful designed site, or part of a high-end brand.

Residential projects are more sacred. It’s an honor to have a client who wants your fixture illuminating their home. You’re kind of moving in with them.

NYS:  Where do you get your inspiration?

Buoyant NYC:  Inspiration is everywhere. I find it in industry, science, nature… If it’s pleasing to look at and enhances a space, I’ve been influenced by it in one way or another.

NYS:  What do you think separates your designs from others?

Buoyant NYC:  All designers have their voice and distinct approach to creating their work. Buoyant combines the uniqueness of a hand blown glass piece with the clean lines of industrial materials, assembled in a simple way. Brass, aluminum, steel, glass. I want my work to be an elegant object, as if it were a gift that a good friend has given you.

NYS:  What is your favorite lighting design ever made?

Buoyant NYC:  I recently visited La Padrera, an apartment building designed by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona. It’s an incredible space—the work of an artist carrying out his vision with confidence and style. There was a lighting fixture in one apartment that’s been on my mind. It’s a very simple glass diffuser sitting on the ceiling, but the plaster around it has been shaped and sculpted in such a way that it creates shadows on the ceiling. So ultimately, the diffuser, the plaster and the shadows combine to create the fixture.

NYS:  What are you working on now?

Buoyant NYC:  I’m designing a new line of desk and table lamps. And there are sconce designs brewing as well.

NYS:  Where can we expect to find you in the future?

Buoyant NYC:  I’m working on a collaboration with LG, designing fixtures featuring their OLED lamps cutting edge technology. I love the idea of placing the latest paper thin, micro-technology, full spectrum lamps within a design that features glass, a material first used in 3500 BCE.

NYS:  Where would you most like to see your designs?

Buoyant NYC:  In my minds eye I see groupings of fixtures in large spaces—restaurants, hotels and concert halls.