The British designer of lights, furniture and accessories talks about craftsmanship and finding inspiration in the past.
What excites you most about lighting?
It’s really the main focal point of any space; it’s also aesthetic and practical. I like the challenge of creating a new piece. I often design objects that are not lights in their inception but purely sculptures or works of art. Then, at the last moment, I turn them into fixtures. The luminosity adds a whole other dimension.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Contemporary, with a traditional twist. I have always looked to the past for inspiration, with an emphasis on modernity. I still play with the same context, though the aesthetic has shifted. For instance, Crystal Bulb, which I created in 2012, brought together two existing items – an incandescent bulb, and a whisky glass with decorative crystal cuts – which I combined in a novel way. My latest collection includes Crescent, which introduces another kind of unexpected combination, where a classic art deco globe is sliced asymmetrically to reveal a brass fascia. Like Crystal Bulb, it takes two things and puts them together in an inventive way, although the emphasis is more on the light’s silhouette than on its ornamentation.
Do you have a favourite piece?
The latest ones are always my favourites, because they are the most fresh. There are also some pieces I have a lot of admiration for, because I know how much effort has gone into making them. The Acid Marble table lamp and the Marble Tube pendant are two of them. The level of craftsmanship involved in milling out solid marble to one-quarter-inch thickness to achieve transparency is incredible. We have amazing craftspeople making these in the heart of Carrara in Italy.
Tell us about the Department Store, your new collection.
It is my largest to date, with over 25 pieces, including furniture and accessories. I have been playing with the idea of balance and structure, taking simple shapes and creating elegant pieces out of such beautiful materials as marble and brass. There is something classic about the circle that I like. It is a pure form and the basis of a lot of design. I have also been inspired by the art deco and Bauhaus periods, both of which used this shape a lot.