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Iconic Schoolhouse: Radar Sconce

room with a mirror and a dresser with bottles on it

What do the modern-industrial charm of the Ace Hotel Portland, the collected cool of Instagram fave Farah Guy’s home, and the playful dining room of delicious confectionery 180 Xurros have in common? On the surface, not much, but we'll help you shed some light on the situation. The Radar Sconce, our nod to the factory movement, can be found in all three. How does one light fixture adapt so well to so many different situations? It doesn’t try to be anything other than itself.


group of colorful wall light fixtures

“Unless you live in a machine shop or factory, it’s going to be difficult to over-coordinate your room to the Radar,” says Schoolhouse Founder & CEO - and Radar designer - Brian Faherty. “It’s naturally vibrant in color and function, but that personality is also what makes it versatile. It’s like the charismatic friend from college you could bring to a wild party or trust to deliver your final group presentation. Some things fit in anytime by standing out all the time.”

room with a desk and a laptop on it and coat hooks

room with a mirror and a dresser with bottles on it

via @Kaitiemoyer

Based on a specific, authentic factory light fixture, the Radar reflects utility in its every detail. For example, the perforated metal diffuser would have protected the light bulb from damage in a busy factory environment while its staggered perforation pattern still let out plenty of light. The stamped “Warning: Risk of Fire” and “Max 75 Watt” details communicated important information that users would need to know. (But don’t worry, thanks to the work of our engineering team, the “risk of fire” is no longer present.)

he die-cut cross, which provides an accent of color to match the shade, would have housed a type of industrial electrical outlet. The posable neck, flexible to almost any angle and height, allows for putting light exactly where you need it to go.

desk with a sconce and other office supplies on it

two bunk beds with black ladder and red pillows

via Sunset Magazine

Work on the Radar began in 2012, when the Ace Hotel Portland approached Schoolhouse Founder Brian Faherty about producing a sconce for use in their hotel rooms.

“This type of project is exciting because it’s both collaborative and creative,” says Brian. “We took this fixture with a purely utilitarian history and modified it in slight ways to make it suitable for the home. You don’t want to mess with the form too much because it already offers something that people aren’t used to. But getting the material interplay and the colors right was the challenge.”

The original inspiration piece that was chosen was designed for use on industrial parts washers and had the simple, utilitarian form to match. A rectangular electrical box featured an outlet for plugging in tools and a toggle switch for turning the fixture on and off. Connected to the box was a flexible metal tube that terminated in a socket and a metal turtle shade with a perforated metal diffuser.

yellow sconce

This inspiration piece was a promising starting point, but it also provided some potential for improvement. For example, the canopy box wasn’t large enough to fit over a traditional junction box, which would pose an installation challenge to the average homeowner. It also didn’t provide much in the way of color, and contained other small features and electrical designs also weren’t well-suited for use in the home. So Brian and the design began tweaking and refining the design until they had it just right.

The design they landed on may not look so different from its original, but a collection of refined details allow the Radar to feel at home in almost any space. The electrical box is a little wider—wide enough to cover a standard junction box—so installation is much easier for the homeowner. Where before the perforated diffuser was held in place by thumbscrews, it’s now held in place by a clever system of hidden magnets which make changing the light bulb a breeze.

cabinet with a sconce and white drawers

bedroom with two green beds and miniature pine trees as decor

via Emily Henderson

stuffed bear on a bed and black sconce above a dresser

via Changoandco

art studio with painting supplies 
via @Lacifowlerart

boy sitting on a bed

via @Kirnieman

group of colorful wall light fixtures

The Radar is also available in six custom colors, which help to provide a striking material interplay between the candy-smooth paint color, the shining zinc-coated gooseneck tube, and the lacquered steel box. With both hard-wired and plug-in variations available, homeowners and renters alike can enjoy the Radar Sconce. Of course, no matter what combination of options you choose for your own home, the personality of the Radar Sconce will keep shining through. That’s what we love about it, and we think you will, too.


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