lindsey adelman

Bright Eye
Lindsey Adelman has always been fascinated by light. "It can dictate our frame of mind," she says. "Candlelight makes people want to open up; sunlight at the beach brings immediate bliss." At the Rhode Island School of Design, Adelman learned how to create and wire lighting for the home; in 2000, she launched a line of funky lampshades. But it wasn't until four years later—when she closed up shop to focus on her newborn son—that she discovered a wellspring of creativity. "Your mind can wander when you're taking care of a baby," Adelman says. "I daydreamed about all the things I wanted to make, beyond lampshades."

In 2006, an invitation to display lighting in a model townhouse spurred her to get back to work. Now 45, Adelman constructs sleek chandeliers and pendants with a dramatic flair; her designs suggest birds taking flight from the ceiling or toadstools springing from the walls. "I take classic elements, like the roses you'd find in the plaster molding of a château, and make them modern," she says. Case in point: In Maine last winter, Adelman was captivated by a cascade of icicles under the roof of her in-laws' barn that, when the sun came out, "looked like a crystal palace." Back in the studio, she interpreted the look with brass armature and hand-blown glass.

Above: Custom glass-bubble chandeliers by Adelman.

These days, high-end architects and interior designers around the world seek out Adelman's work: Her fixtures grace ceilings and walls from Berlin to Dubai, and her operation has grown into a 23-person studio, plus glassblowers and metalworkers.

Above: Three-globe sconce by Adelman.

Still, she's the one climbing eight-foot ladders, mocking up new chandelier designs. All the craftsmanship comes at a price—Adelman's pieces start at $2,200. So in 2011, she unveiled DIY lighting kits ($140; that let customers build and install fixtures themselves. It's her way of letting other people shine.