Yin-Yang and a ’74 Kawasaki
You know when you walk into a store, and you draw an immediate impression of what’s available there? That’s how it was when my friend and I entered Mark & Vanessa Bell’s Omega Too in Berkeley. We looked around and thought, “Okay, brimming with period-correct lighting: Art Deco—check, Art Nouveau—check, Arts & Crafts—check.”
Then we looked more closely.
I spotted the ’74 Kawasaki gearbox pendant first. “Look at that light with the gears and the hose! What kind of glass is that teardrop shade?”
It was arrestingly beautiful. The yin-yang, feminine-masculine contrast stopped me in my tracks.
So Lisa and I, and my 6-month old hanging off me in the Baby Bjorn, stared up at this thing and tried to figure out what it was made from. The storekeeper piped up from behind his desk, “It’s motorcycle and automotive parts and a Vaseline-glass shade.” Of course. We knew that. Brilliant.
It was ten minutes later, after spotting similarly splendid pendants dotting the packed ceiling that we learned that said storekeeper was the craftsperson who brought these fixtures into being. And he was on his knees busily birthing another, this one from antique French heater parts. Well sure, that’s the natural progression from the ’74 Kawasaki.
I asked Mark Bell how he came to create these pieces. “My love for old stuff; the rustier, the better. Things that have lived a little and have a story to tell are intriguing to look at and think about, and hangin’ with my uncle restoring old cars in his garage. Blend in a little Berkeley green reuse power and a tweaked sense of humor looking at the pile of parts on my work bench.”
Mark also wanted to have some show pieces that “illustrate that we can make custom lights at Omega Too.” Mission accomplished.
I wish we were already starting that “someday” kitchen renovation. I’d be inviting a motorcycle to dinner.
What do you think about these pendants? Describe the details of the room where you’d suspend one.