A San Diego Designer Lights The Way With His Fixtures

ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN | BY | December 20, 2017
Designer Jim Gibson started in the lighting business when he acquired a stock of antique fixtures. Since then, his business has expanded.

here’s no right or wrong color or aesthetic,” say Jim Gibson, founder of California-based Gibson Lighting. “Everyone has their own personal idea of beauty.”

Gibson has dedicated more than 30 years to illuminating the lives of his clients. Though he restores and duplicates vintage fixtures, his creative spirit shines in custom projects inspired by found objects, artistic vision and personal narrative. Here, Gibson shares his process and a few of his favorite things.

My three-step process consists of…

Client request. Clarification. Creation. Because we spend so much time working out the details in step two, this third step is where it gets fun.

Tell us about a piece that turned out differently that you expected.

I work so hard with clients to understand their vision that we rarely have a piece that turns out differently than expected. The “unexpected” is how the fixture looks when it is illuminated. When we flip the switch, it’s usually even better than expected.

Tell us your favorite family tradition and what makes it so special.

We buy a live tree for the holidays and plant them on our property. Nineteen years in our home means 19 evergreens. It’s a little like a forest.

Tell us about your all-time favorite book.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. The author is clever, insightful and hysterically funny. My family won’t let me read his books in public because they are embarrassed by my spontaneous laughter.

The best piece of advice I ever received was…

A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch at a Chinese restaurant with one of my sons. Inside my fortune cookie, it said, “Don’t worry about money. The best things in life are free.” I’ll go with that.


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