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An Homage to Benjamin Franklin

The genesis for what would become the Ashbery line was Benjamin Franklin's streetlamp design, introduced in Philadelphia in the 1750s. It was a typical street lamp with a glass globe that shielded an oil-burning candle from the wind, but Franklin developed the idea of a lantern with four flat sides that flared out slightly and a chimney, which kept soot from collecting on the glass and smoke from gathering in the lantern. It is an iconic design that continues to characterize street lighting in American towns.

"Extend a welcome. Light the way. Provide safety and security. A good streetlight speaks to all of this. From oil lamps in ancient Rome to oil candles, gas lights, and incandescent lights - all of these light sources were warm and welcoming."

- Dan Lobitz, Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Daniel Lobitz and Alexander Lamis, partners of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, discuss the inspiration they garnered from Benjamin Franklin's streetlamp.

"We were interested in tying into that long history of street lighting," says Ashbery designer Dab Lobitz, partner with Robert A.M. Stern Architects. "We wanted our light design to contribute to the characteristics of small town America: shared destiny, shared traditions, a sense of community, neighborliness, everybody pulling together," says Lobitz.

Ashbery lights spark an emotional connection to the past but look and perform in a way authentic to the present.

Four arms hold the canopy, and a candle-like light, reflected in frosted glass, evokes the warm glow of an old street lamp and softens the LED element that casts light downward in an effective and efficient way.

"Ashbery lights are simple, elegant, and straightforward. They are modern and contemporary but, at the same time, celebrate the traditions they evolved from, welcoming people with a beautiful warm light," says Lobitz.