Color, pattern, and texture shape Hannah Bigeleisen’s furniture and lighting designs. Trained as a sculptor, she creates highly crafted pieces that are elegant yet playful. She founded her studio, H. Bigeleisen, in 2020, and lives in Ridgewood, Queens, with her husband, the designer Steven Bukowski.
As a kid, what did you answer when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I wanted to be what I called an inventor, someone who made things that had never existed before. So, I think I’m right on track.
Who are a few designers that you follow on Instagram?
Steven Bukowski (@stevenbukowski) Steven is my husband, and he makes bold, sculptural furniture that is so beautifully engineered and crafted. He also takes the best photos of our studio cat.
Bowen Liu (@bowenliustudio) They make the most beautiful pieces with such tremendous sensitivity to detail.
Indo (@indomade). I love how they explore and express light and reflectivity with their mirrors.
Robert Sukrachand (@sukrachand) Robert is my good friend and collaborator; our Blob sconces debuted last year at ICFF. I love his stories about his life in Thailand and all of the amazing craftspeople he collaborates with there.
Was there a moment when you realized you wanted to be a designer? If so, what was it?
There was a very literal light-bulb moment. I had a sculptural piece that I put a light bulb in and viola: It was my first lamp! I was hooked from there. Creating sculptural pieces that people could live with and love brings me so much joy.
Which of your pieces, products, and/or projects are you most proud? Why?
I am most proud of my first lighting design, the Ellsworth lamp, because it shifted my studio practice into design. Otherwise, I’m still swooning over a piece I released earlier this year called the Throne chair. It is equal parts sculpture, function, and statement.
What is the most pressing issue in the design world today?
Sustainability is huge. But that doesn’t necessarily have to mean only recycled or upcycled materials. I think designs that are built to be heirloom-quality also offer another aspect to that conversation.
What are you currently working on?
Experimentation is always a part of my practice, so I’m currently playing around with new cement formulations and surface finishes.
Just curious: What is your favorite movie? And your favorite band or song?
Favorite movie is a tough one, as is my favorite band or song. But my all-time favorite radio station is WFMU! It is a freeform radio station based in Jersey City, New Jersey, that plays really amazing music from all genres and eras.