Our newest Nails of New York features Farrah Sit, founder of her eponymous lighting brand, as well as the design studio Light + Ladder. Read more to learn about how she uses sculptural design to connect, why she infuses stillness into her incredibly creative designs, and why a manicure makes her feel composed.
How did your path lead you to designing lighting, furniture, and sculpture?
I've always had a deep fascination with how things work. I was going to study science, but at the last minute I leaped at an opportunity to attend Rhode Island School of Design to study industrial design. I landed a dream job at Calvin Klein Home early on. I was gifted the time and freedom to design, which was rare in corporate, and I traveled around the world to work with small, family owned-factories.
But over the course of those years, I saw how the economy was demanding cheap product in China. Quality was no longer a value, which led me to question my role as a designer in this world. I returned to making with my hands to get back in touch with the "why." Rather than letting the economy dictate the way my creativity would be realized, I took the time after to work to design and fabricate again on my own terms and for the sake of understanding the material. This was where it started. Because I had to make everything myself, the process was intimate, and I allowed the material to tell me what it wanted to be. My commitment to the craft led me to make a few strategic moves including leaving Calvin for a job that would allow me to create a nest egg and later trading that money for time to develop my own work.
Designing my own line under my name allowed me to be as creative as I needed to be, subject to different constraints. Light + Ladder is a vehicle to connect to many and share my love for bringing nature indoors. Light + Ladder came from my obsession with gardening. Plants and nature evoke a sense of calm that's so important to be in touch with. I think indoor gardening can provide simple, meditative moments. I try to evoke this feeling of stillness and grace in the action designs. It's important to take time to be still and aware, especially in the city.
What do you enjoy doing as a break from your artwork?
On the mat or cushion is where you'll find me pre- and post-work. I am passionate about Kundalini yoga and meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan, and I recently started practicing vinyasa yoga at Lighthouse Yoga in Williamsburg. Yoga offers me a much-needed break from the critical, micro-vision of design. Yoga gets me macro again.
How did you pick your design and color duo?
I love whites and pale pinks for my hands and feet. I was drawn to the SoulCycle design as the swoop creates a volume similar to our Light + Ladder Vayu planter. I love how the white pops and creates the first separation from my skin color, but the pink gently mutes the look.
How does a manicure make you feel?
Clean, polished, feminine, composed.
How do you use your nails as a form of self-expression?
I had been getting weekly manicures for a while and discovering the durability of gels was a total game changer. I was blown away. It allowed me to be as active as I needed to be while keeping a sense of femininity. I think it's so important to feel and be strong, have a can-do attitude, but after all the hustling around of making and moving things, if I have gnarly nails, my sense of composure is lost.
I love neutral colors as they act as a finishing touch, nothing too showy in order to evoke a sense of calm. I played violin for ten years and then attended Rhode Island School of Design for industrial design, so my hands are a bit work-hardened. Having light colors on my nails helps visually soften my hands.
What has been the most challenging and most rewarding part of starting your own business?
Not knowing what's ahead and stepping forward into the unknown. It takes alot of trust, and good people around you. The most rewarding aspect is that with every step it's clear your intentions are leading the way. Freedom is so important to me. I love being able to work on so many projects and facets at once, I don't remember the last time I felt bored. Even Excel sheets aren't boring to me these days!
What are three things you're obsessed with right now?
1) Kundalini yoga and meditation. 2) Pescatarian Keto for cognitive clarity and energy. 3) The podcast Heavyweight–Jonathan Goldstein is adorbs.