Rico Espinet is known for creating striking, poetic environments that combine clean lines and simple forms. Reflecting his training as a sculptor, Rico?s design sensibility is grounded in materials and values that endure. His spaces mix furnishings, lighting, accessories, industrial objects, and fine art in settings at once comfortable and freshly discerning.
Rico?s work is the culmination of lifelong interests in art, architecture, performance, philosophy and history. After graduation with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design, his passion for sculpture evolved into art installations, where the placement of objects and careful lighting heightened the viewer?s experience. A gift for lighting transported him to New York?s downtown music scene and the world of high fashion. Throughout the 1980s, Rico created the stage lighting for musical showcases of artists like Marianne Faithfull, Television, Gang of Four, Pylon, Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, and Run DMC, to name a few. Lighting projects for fashion designers Stephen Sprouse and Isabel Toledo led to several years as a visual lighting consultant for Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, and Ralph Lauren. Rico received two Gene Moore lighting prizes, for Polo Sport windows and a Comme des Garcons installation created by Simon Doonan.
In the mid-1990s, Rico returned to his studio, a converted elementary school, in the Amish community of rural Stone Arabia, New York, to work on commissions and create what would become his first lighting line. His Monk Lamp, crafted with a microphone base, plumbing parts, and an industrial machinist shade, appeared in an international Hunter Douglas ad that ran for two years in many magazines, creating serious buzz and a lengthy waiting list. Jeffrey and Darlene Rose called, and for 16 years, Rico has designed residential and contract lighting for Robert Abbey, Inc. His popular Robert Abbey Lighting collections feature warm, often atmospheric light inspired by architectural forms and the beauty of everyday objects.