Susan Kinzig was already established nationally as a well-respected jewelry designer when her sister-in-law, Caryn Kinzig, left a successful investment career to join forces with her and enter the world of lamp design.
Susan founded Kinzig Design in San Francisco in 1987. A self-taught jeweler, she has supported herself as an artist since she was a teenager. After a seven-year career in graphic design, Susan took a cross-country artistic sabbatical from San Francisco to Philadelphia. Six weeks turned into six months when Caryn encouraged Susan to show her newly honed creations to local shops, at times literally pushing her through the door. Today her jewelry is sought by collectors and is carried by galleries, boutiques and museum gift shops.
Caryn also grew up with a love for art and an appreciation for handmade objects. Her childhood home was filled with beautiful artwork that her parents collected from around the world and from artists they discovered at shows on the East Coast. She has fond memories of walking those shows with her parents as original works and unusual pieces caught her eye. Her style and artistic eye continue to evolve as she travels the world looking for design inspiration and beautiful fabrics and materials to incorporate into the lamps.
In 2002 Caryn left the corporate world and had thought about going into a shade-related business. This was when she and Susan realized that they wanted to create lamps together. Within a year they’d formed Kinzig Design Home.
Their odyssey began with a visit to the Bowery, New York City’s lighting district, where they shyly asked some parts suppliers to teach them the mechanics of building a lamp. “The guys looked at us oddly at first, but showed infinite patience while we learned,” Susan recalls. “We thanked them with a box of cannolis and said, ‘One day you’ll be proud to know us.’ It’s true. And we’re still buying parts from them.”
Collaborating equally on the lamp designs since then, Susan works closely with the glass artists and produces the lamp bases in her San Francisco studio while Caryn searches the world for embroidered silk fabric and sews the shades in Philadelphia. The partners now sell their lamps to premier galleries, home accent stores and design showrooms in every region of the country.
Kinzig Design Home collaborates with the following glass studios including: MAS Glass, Little River Hot Glass and Alex Abajian Glass. Kinzig Design Home also works with well-known fabric studios who paint some of the shade fabrics. They include: Kevin O’ Brien Studio, Lonni Rossi Fabrics and Sally Jones.
Kinzig Design launched APKD Lampshades in 2013, reviving the art of making high-quality lampshades. APKD sews shades for other manufacturers and lighting stores while doing custom work for clients who need a special shade for a treasured lamp or who simply want a shade recovered or relined.