After years consulting and fabricating projects for museums, artists, and design visionaries, Josh Neretin founded buoyant NYC in 2013 to introduce his own brand of custom light fixtures to the design community. His collection, all hand-made in Brooklyn NY using traditional materials and hand-blown glass, aims at sophisticated simplicity and is influenced by the sculptural arts, as well as a deep interest in modern industry, technology and natural form. Neretin spoke with ICFF on how he got into the craft and what he’s doing today.
What drove you to get into lighting design?
A sincere love of art and design, and a lifelong passion to make things. As a teenager, I was lucky enough to learn to glass blow…a craft I did not return to until many years later. I Now Live in Brooklyn within walking distance of 2 hot shops. Reacquainting myself to glasswork, I dusted off years of old sketchbooks and began fabricating mockups specifically for lighting.
When did you found Buoyant? What inspired you to start your own design business?
The 2013 ICFF show was my first trade show and a turning point for me. The positive response I received from visitors and participants led me to focus in on making Buoyant a design studio. Previously, I had spent many years as a builder and fabricator for artists and designers, so this was a logical next step for me.
What makes your lighting different from others on the market?
My approach to design, and I’m definitely not alone here, is more of an artist’s approach. I’ll work with hand blown glass and brass for one collection, and lacquered wood panels for another. I’m always looking to progress within my aesthetic while still remaining true to my brand.
How do you find inspiration for a new design?
I’m influenced by historical, religious, and mystical art and objects. I find their subject matter and crafting creates atmosphere and meaning beyond the actual object itself.
Have you found that the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent times have changed your perspective on design?
I feel compelled now more than ever to be an active participant in what we feel, as a community, is right and just. We walk in and through designed spaces every day, and I honestly feel that the design community can play a part to elevate attitudes to a better place. We have to keep looking to find a status where everyone is winning and no one is left out.
What are you working on now? Did you plan to reveal any new products at ICFF 2020 and did you end up launching the products on your own?
I’ve just released a new piece, Semaphore, that will be part of a larger collection of wall pieces, lighting and furniture.
This collection will feature patterned and engraved wood and marble surfaces that feature hand applied lacquer. Semaphore will be the third piece in our collection of line voltage fixtures that continues to inhabit the spirit and simple elegance of the Buoyant brand.