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530 Q Street
Central Sacramento, CA, 95811

Designer & maker of modern lighting, mobiles, and clocks. From residential to site-specific public art installations. Sacramento, CA.



Updates, announcements, and views into the process and studio here at Schmitt Design.

Orb Pedestals for Glazing

Brian Schmitt

schmitt design orb fixture modern lighting 1

I had been struggling with the glaze firing for our orbs (shown at left) featured in our Orb Collection line of modern light fixtures. The exterior is fully glazed and the pieces need to be elevated in some way so they don’t stick to the kiln shelves. Attempts to balance the orbs on a post or janky hand-built pedestal (front, right) didn’t work. I found that if the orbs weren’t well supported, the bottom opening would warp during firing. The tricky thing about kiln fixtures, is that they have to withstand firing temps - in this case up to cone 5 (~2200º F). In the end, I realized that I needed to invest the energy into some proper custom ceramic pedestals (3D print shown in background). 

schmitt design orb fixture modern lighting 2

As I already had the Orb modeled in the 3D program Fusion360, it was relatively easy to create a form that followed the interior of the orb. I had to make sure that the elevated part of the pedestal would fit through the circular opening on the underside of the orb, allowing for shrinkage of the orb during firing. The pedestal is designed to support the orb and keep it level to minimize warpage. 

schmitt design orb fixture modern lighting 3

Next, I had the pedestal 3D printed in PLA (thanks fictiv!). I had it printed in 2 halves, split along the parting line. That simplified the process of delineating the part line when I poured the plaster mold.

schmitt design orb fixture modern lighting 4

Here’s the first slip-cast piece. It’s cast in the same stoneware as the orbs. The part line is a bit rough, but it’s OK as only the top surface needs to be cleaned up.

schmitt design orb fixture modern lighting 5

And here you can see a gang of our new pedestals! I wasn’t enthused about investing such time + energy into a simple fixture, but I knew that it would pay off. This is why I was extra elated when I opened the kiln earlier this week and found 4 orbs in top form after a glaze firing. 

schmitt design orb fixture modern lighting 6

Here's our first Orb Trio to feature our new and improved orbs; they’re the culmination of months of refinement, new molds, troubleshooting, and new techniques. It's also the first version in this black on black colorway. Thanks for following along!

Bespoke Orb Fixtures

Brian Schmitt

We've recently had the opportunity to build a couple bespoke Orb Chandeliers. We originally released the Orb Collection in two styles: Trio and Tandem.

Orb Trio

Orb Trio

Orb Tandem

Orb Tandem

Previously, we were able to create a unique installation for a local modern home by combining two trios and one tandem over a long dining table. 

Schmitt Design Orb Fixtures Trio Tandem Modern Ceramic

These original two designs also work very well as the building blocks for light fixtures customized for a specific space. We were commissioned by one of our long-time collaborators, interior designer Russell Thomas, to create a large chandelier to be suspended over his client's dining table. We designed an Orb Chandelier, featuring two tiers, each with three orbs. The upper tier and lower tiers have diameters of 48" and 42". The orbs are cast from stoneware slip, then glazed in satin white and paired with a blackened brass fixture.    

We created another unique design for our friend, Edgar Blazona, from Benchmade Modern. He wanted a modern chandelier, scaled appropriately for the 14' ceilings in Benchmade's upcoming shop on Valencia St. in San Francisco. This Orb Chandelier features three tiers of varying length, each with two orbs. 

Blazona also had the vision to request a modern monochromatic white on white finish. We're so happy with how it turned out, we're going to add this to our standard finish options. Satin white orbs with powdercoated brass fixture. 

Get in touch with us if you'd like to discuss these or a unique orb fixture for your project.