Blueprint Lighting’s Kelly Aaron and Designer Emily Del Bello Illuminate the Night

New York-based interior designer Emily del Bello had just returned from a 2022 trip to Paris to scour the markets and galleries for clients when she noticed an email in her inbox that sparked an entrepreneurial impulse.

It was a newsletter from Blueprint Lighting, a New York City–based company she had patronized frequently over the years, becoming friendly with its CEO, Kelly Aaron. Combined with something she discovered in Paris, it convinced Del Bello to “shoot my shot” — meaning, propose a joint project with Aaron.

Kelly Aaron and Emily Del Bello
Blueprint Lighting CEO Kelly Aaron (left) and interior designer Emily Del Bello pose in the Blueprint showroom in New York. The duo collaborated on a new capsule collection inspired by a pair of earrings from French fashion house Dior (portrait by Gieves Anderson). Top: The Madeleine pendant — seen here in brass, bronze and marble — takes its name from designer Christian Dior’s mother. All photos courtesy of Blueprint Lighting unless otherwise noted

The genesis of the collaboration that became the Emily Del Bello x Blueprint Lighting Capsule Collection — which consists of four elegant fixtures, all available through the company’s 1stDibs storefront — seems straight out of a rom-com. Aaron and Del Bello, who’d met a few times over the years, fell for each other the same way future spouses do in a movie: The perfect partner was right under their noses all along!

Del Bello’s specific Parisian inspiration was not something she saw in a chic shop or at the markets she frequented but an item on the person of her local guide. That item was a pair of beguiling earrings, made by Dior and adorned with pearls and chains.

Dior muse Mitzah Bricard is the namesake for the Mitzah chandelier, shown here in bronze, glass and marble. 

“They were so iconic,” Del Bello says of the Dior Tribales gold and pearl dangle chain earrings. “We stopped what we were doing and went to Dior, and I bought them. It felt great.”

To create the Blueprint collection, Del Bello combined the look and feel of the Dior danglers with her own aesthetic — which melds classical, modern and contemporary elements. To her mind, taking inspiration from beautiful baubles for a lamp collection makes perfect sense. “Lighting,” she notes, “is the jewelry in any space.”

As for Aaron, collaborating with Del Bello was an idea she signed onto with enthusiasm — because just such a partnership with the designer had already crossed her mind.

“I had made a list of five designers with whom I had a great relationship who might be good for a capsule collection one day, and she was on it,” Aaron recalls. “And then, she called me. Now, that’s serendipity.” 

The four lights in the collection — the Lucie flush mount, the Alla wall sconce, the Mitzah chandelier, the Madeleine pendant — take their names from Christian Dior’s muses: models Lucie Daouphars and Alla Ilchun, Dior pattern maker and style arbiter Mitzah Bricard and the fashion designer’s mother, Madeleine.

The Lucie can be used as a flush mount, as shown here, with its travertine base, or as a wall sconce. It owes its name to Dior muse and model Lucie Daouphars.

The Lucie flush mount is the simplest of the line, with a round white globe — resembling a signature Dior pearl earring — set against a chic round backplate that is available in three marbles. 

The Alla sconce displays similar jewelry references and the same basic composition, but Del Bello added a chunky black metal chain that swoops down from the main fixture. 

The Madeleine pendant and the Mitzah chandelier level up the bold geometries of this aesthetic. Their sensuously dangling chains and spherical lighting elements attach to a large metal ring, or rings, each of which has a small break in it, just like a hoop earring.

The process of conceiving the line couldn’t have gone more smoothly. When Del Bello mentioned the Dior earrings, the Blueprint team understood the brief immediately. 

Thanks to the success of the Del Bello collaboration, Blueprint — whose showroom is seen here — is working on projects with two more designers. 

“We sat down with everyone, and our team got to work designing it,” says Aaron. “It all happened so fast. We had the rendered prototype for the line within a couple of weeks.”

After a launch event this past fall, the collection took off. “It’s gotten a huge response,” says Aaron. 

The Alla sconce, in particular, has been an object of fascination for clients, says Del Bello. “I have gotten so much feedback on it. It can be edgy in a den or add a natural element in the family room. Its wattage is not overhead strength. So, it’s more like mood lighting. It sets a whole new tone for a space.”

Blueprint Lighting, a longtime 1stDibs partner, has undergone a significant evolution since it was founded, in 2016, as a vintage lighting dealer. “We were working primarily by selling to the trade, and then, we started doing vintage reproductions,” Aaron says. 

The ALLA wall sconce, in black marble and glass, borrows its name from another Dior muse and model, Alla Ilchun.

These days, the company produces mostly original designs, all made at their facility in New Jersey. The Del Bello collaboration marked Blueprint’s first capsule collection, and its success has led Aaron to pursue more. 

It also encouraged Blueprint to try a material it had not used before: stone — two types of marble and travertine. “That makes it stand out in our line and give us a different look,” says Aaron. “It’s a great exercise for our team, since now we can do more with it.”

But bulbs and backplates are not the heart of this story; rather, it’s the connection between two like minds. As Aaron puts it, “It was so fun getting to work with a beloved client in a different way. We got to peek inside her brain a little bit. That was a blast.”

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