Icebergs as Inspiration


Iceberg Flotante 1859    Frederic Edwin Church

Iceberg Flotante 1859 Frederic Edwin Church

Stephen Antonson     Photo: Courtesy

Stephen Antonson Photo: Courtesy

Stephen Antonson is well known among the design cognoscenti for his lean, elegant, chalky white plaster light fixtures and objects inspired by Isamu Noguchi, French 1940’s lighting, and Diego Giacometti .

Initially inspired by Frederic Edwin Church’s paintings of icebergs, it was five years ago that Antonson began collecting vintage images of icebergs – intrigued by their monumental scale and ephemeral qualities, and the fact that the icebergs in many of the photos have disappeared.

What started as an ‘interest in icebergs’ became a fascination, and then became an obsession leading Antonson to create his new broad ranging ‘Shackleton Collection’…


Sir Ernest Shackleton was the leader  of an early 20th century expedition into Antarctica. An early explorer into a landscape of icebergs, Shackelton’s adventures were well-documented at the time – including when his ship The Endurance ran aground.



All of the items in the collection are made initially in plaster, and many of the smaller items in the collection will be produced in plaster. For the larger items, like the tables, Antonson worked to translate the qualities of plaster, including the ‘dryness’ and hand-made texture, into a substantial chalky white resin, allowing these items to live outdoors.

Hover over any of the images below for the corresponding names.

Blackborow Lamp With Background

My favorite item in the Shackleton Collection is this beautifully proportioned plaster ‘Blackborow’ table lamp that recalls Czech Cubism. In addition to icebergs, Antonson has been looking to a  couple of Czechoslovakian designers for formal inspiration: Josef Gocar and Josef Chocal.



Frank Hurley - " A Turreted Berg" Courtesy Stephen Antonson

Frank Hurley – ” A Turreted Berg” Courtesy Stephen Antonson

Antonson intends to give his ever expanding collection of vintage iceberg photos to his children.

Antonson held a launch party at his beautiful studio in Brooklyn. 

Antonson held a launch party at his beautiful studio in Brooklyn.

The launch party held at Stephen Antonson’s Brooklyn Studio last week was a rich and delightful experience providing the opportunity to see all of the works in the collection – some still in prototype forms, experience his beautiful studio, and to meet his many admirers.


Where can you see his work in person? Stephen Antonson’s products can be purchased through:

Dessin Fournir – New York

Dessin Fournir – Chicago 

Therien & Co. – Los Angeles

Ainsworth – Noah – Atlanta


This entry was posted in Art, Design and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.