Paint Vs. Light

Interior designer and BIID member Sam Bird, of Trindade & Bird, shares insight into the design considerations when working with paint colours and textures and light in residential projects.

When it comes to choosing colour for your walls, the next most important thing to consider is light.

A common misconception about a space and its lighting is that the smaller the room, the lighter the colours must be in order to make it feel bigger and brighter. When in fact, the opposite is true. Take a basement, for example, that has minimal to no daylight exposure. The best thing to do is to lean into its natural cosiness and choose dark colours and rich textures to create the ultimate intimate space. More on this later…

But first things first, what needs to be established is the client’s desire for a space. When beginning a new project, it is key to understand what they want out of it, as well as how they are intending to use it. That way, you will naturally tailor your scheme to suit their requests, and begin the process of understanding how colour, texture and furniture are going to fit in situ.

It’s important to understand how the use of colour, lighting and the impacts of daylight levels will affect the use of the room. The architectural layout of a property and its physical positioning (south-facing for example), are also key to understanding how the interior interacts with the architecture and how that balances with the levels of natural light the property receives.

An example of this can be seen in the location of my previous home. It wasn’t the biggest house in the world and we were set in the woods surrounded by lots of trees. So, even though daylight would come through the windows, during the summer it was never a bright house because of the constant canopy of surrounding trees. It was in fact a very dark house. And so we ran with that and used a lot of dark colours - we actually painted the whole house in one colour - and created a melting effect, which we then piled a load of textures into.

We like to use the term “melting effect” to describe where we blend the same colour across the whole room, from skirting boards to the ceiling, to create the idea that the colour is melting into the whole space and blending the room altogether.

If you’re trying to make a room feel bigger, you need to look at how it is laid out to maximise space as much as you can. The idea of not using colour and going all-white in a smaller space to make it feel bigger is a misconception of what’s really going to happen with that space. It’s all about the size of the furniture and how you place it to make that space feel right. Funnily enough, for a small space you should actually go bigger with the furniture and aim for less clutter.

Choosing the correct paint is your next step. A few years ago, we used to regularly use a matte paint that had added marble to it, which created a unique reflective texture to the finish. Nowadays, we stick fast to a completely flat, matte finish, because it can create some interesting shadows and contrasts that you can use to your advantage in a scheme. We stay away from anything that has too much sheen. Generally what we often do is bring those colours across the entire room, as mentioned before in the melting effect. This allows for an interesting contrast between both the ceiling and walls, and even though it is the same paint and colour, various shadows and tones are reflected at various points of the day.

When it comes to selecting paint colours and textures, it is essential to be mindful of the quality of the brand you are working with. As with many things in life, you pay for what you get regarding a product’s quality, and much is the same when it comes to paint.

The way light interacts with your paint choice will depend entirely on its quality, and not necessarily its colour. If you are using paint that has a lot of sheen to it, it’s going to cause chaos with the lighting. If you stay with the higher-end brands, you’re not going to have the same issues of uncontrollable light reflections or light absorptions.

Light temperatures, lux levels and overall quality of lamps are extremely important as well;  you have to be really careful with your light source choice. When completing a project, we ensure to leave one of each type of light source with our client for any inevitable replacements to make sure the correct quality lamp is used.

A lot of how the lighting interacts with the room’s colours comes down to the programming too. For instance, if you are using reds in a room and rich-toned velvet, you will experience a lot of light and colour changes. Velvet has a lot of reflective qualities to it, but when brushed by hand in another direction, it fills with dark tones. Once you put light onto that fabric, you can exacerbate those effects.

Colour and light spill from decorative fixtures is another aspect to consider in a space. If you have spent a lot of care on a particular wall finish and colour that you do not want to be disrupted by coloured light spill from a decorative shade, for example, there are things you can do to minimise this. Taking shades as an example further, there are things you can use such as a blackout lining. This allows the light to flow directionally upwards and downwards, but it does not spill through the fabric of the shade. This works in favour of both the wall treatment behind the lamp, as well as for the fabric or finish of the shade itself not losing its impact through backlighting. It allows you to be really selective with your light output. Alternatively, you can use an opaque lining that does allow for light to dissipate through the shade and create an overall soft illumination. This is the most typical finish for a shade, however, the blackout linings create a unique aesthetic that allows for the shade to stand out as a piece of art on its own. If you are using a colour scheme much the same as our melt effect that runs the colour across the entire room, wall lamp shades are something that needs careful consideration if you are matching them to the wall colour, as an opaque lining illumination will change its colour completely.

Undertones of paints can vastly change how a colour is perceived during the day and night. For a recent residential project, Hollandbury Park, I used a dark blue colour in a bedroom that had really dark green undertones. The room was designed with nighttime in mind, as a space that is used mostly in times of darkness. The way the colour changed throughout different times of day was drastic, and again with the bedside lamps during the evening and early morning. The colour temperature of your electric lighting against paint colours with cooler or warmer undertones is also worth considering, as it will impact the overall feel of the space during hours of darkness.

Timeless Design

Flos releases an iconic Castiglione design with an updated, sophisticated material to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

In 1962, designers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglione created the iconic Arco floor lamp, the same year design brand Flos was established. Synonymous with Italian design, the lamp became one of the most well-recognised, imitated and referenced pieces of Italian design. Sixty years later, Flos celebrates the lamp’s anniversary with the release of a limited edition lead-free crystal base.

The original design took inspiration from street lights - a simple structure that allows directional light without the construction limitations of installing a chandelier. A telescopic, satin-finished stainless steel arch allowed light to be diffused through a height-adjustable reflector finished in pressed, polished aluminium and protected with a clear varnish. A 60kg white Carrara marble base anchored the structure, and a dimmer switch allowed for light intensity adjustability.

At first glance, a small hole in the base appears to be a contemporary design feature. However, it has a practical purpose as an access point for a broom handle, or something similar, to aid in lifting and transporting the lamp and its heavy base.

To celebrate the lamp’s 40th anniversary, Flos released a limited edition Arco with a black marble base. And again, for its 50th anniversary, the brand paid tribute to the piece, releasing it in an LED version.

Arco K, the most recent limited edition version for the lamp's 60th anniversary, sees its base transformed into a material the team deemed more appropriate to the duo’s original design intentions. The aim was for the base to draw the viewer’s gaze from the arch to its origin and structure that supports it.

“Over time, the marble of the lamp base has been associated with an idea of ​​preciousness and luxury that the designers did not actually have in mind: marble was indeed selected due to its heaviness and sturdiness and its capacity to withstand the metal arch and cap. At the time, it was the easiest material to find and the most logical to use,” explains Flos.

“The new choice fell on a material and a procedure that would not have been possible 60 years ago: a special lead-free crystal, which, thanks to its transparency, reveals the mechanics of the lamp and explains its operation and principle.

“The material is recyclable, heavy, refined and technical at the same time: a lead-free crystal, commonly used for optical prisms in labs, laser generators, and small gadgets that require 3D lasers inside engraving,” continues Flos. “The challenge was to move from this small scale [machinery] to a large one, while still maintaining the same high precision in the delivery.

“The high precision of the shape that was created makes the piece difficult to replicate by plagiarists because it requires a long working process.

“A spiral spring has been added around the fixing pin to ensure that the internal glass is protected from accidental scratches. And finally, the lower part of the block rests on a black mat, invisible to the naked eye thanks to the play of reflections created in the K9 crystal block.

“A floor lamp that illuminates a dining table like a chandelier, Arco is a crossover between traditional types. It is an object that symbolises expressive freedom in interiors, in line with the social and cultural revolution that was taking place in the years when it was designed.”

The Arco K is being released in a limited number of 2022 lamps, available online via pre-booking due to the nature of time it takes to create each lamp. Flos has also developed a particular encrypted NFC traceability system, which guarantees collectors the originality and uniqueness of each item number.

“While observing street lamps, Achille and Pier Giacomo began to consider how the shape of the arch made it possible to transport light from above onto objects. And then to imagine a lamp capable of accomplishing this task by freeing itself from the fixed ceiling fixture”, explain design curators Calvi and Brambilla. "Arco is a gesture, a space that provides a light that drops on things with kindness and that originates from a block that can be freely transported: in essence these were the great revolutions that this lamp brought to the history of design.”

Velvet, UK

David Collins Studio worked with appointed lighting designers dpa lighting consultants to revamp Corinthia London’s bar, now known as Velvet, into a decadent destination in the heart of London.

Velvet is a new bar that replaces Bassoon at Corinthia London, UK. The bar was reimagined by interior design firm David Collins Studio, transforming the space into a luxurious venue gowned in rich velvets and new artwork by Robson Stannard, which was curated by Creative Director of David Collins Studio, Simon Rawlings.

dpa lighting consultants collaborated closely with David Collins Studio and the hotel to develop a new lighting scheme for the hospitality venue. The aim was to highlight new features as well as upgrade existing fixtures. The team successfully re-lamped all lighting, beam angles were reconsidered, re-aimed and scene-set to create focus and drama throughout the bar. A new stage area is dressed with Par Can theatre-style lighting, creating a focus area and drawing guests into an atmosphere of opulence from the roaring twenties.

Stephanie Harris, Associate at dpa lighting consultants, says of the team’s involvement in the project: “dpa has a previous history collaborating with both Corinthia London and David Collins Studio after being appointed by the hotel to work on the design for Kerridges Bar and Grill in 2018, among other projects. So, dpa was delighted with the opportunity to join this prestigious team again on the refurbishment of Bassoon Bar – now known as Velvet. dpa was first commissioned on the project in early 2022 with the doors reopening on 1 November 2022, approximately nine months from start to finish.

“The brief for the lighting was minimal intervention due to the fast-paced project, utilising the existing lighting, upgrading existing fixtures through re-lamping, and changing beam angles to aid in enhancing the interventions proposed by David Collins Studio.”

David Collins Studio returned to the project via invitation from Corinthia’s General Manager Thomas Kochs, after originally designing Bassoon bar back in 2011.

“The brief was clear from the beginning, and we made sure to keep the strong narrative all the way from implementation through to completion,” explains Rawlings. “Our new design was respectful of the existing interior architecture while creating a distinctly bold and new guest experience that the client was so seduced by.”

Lighting played a key role in creating the dramatic and luxurious atmosphere the brief demanded. “Key decorative lighting considerations ensured the aesthetics of luminaires were in line with the roaring 1920s feel that the David Collins Studio interiors were oozing,” says Harris. “The addition of new shades with fringing and rewiring to all the existing table and floor lights transformed the fixtures to look completely different. As with all projects, dpa has a strong consideration for the circular economy and reusing, refurbishing, and rewiring where possible.      

“The addition of candles to each table along with added decorative elements throughout provides that seductive intimate atmosphere that complements the magic and theatre of the bar.”

A vintage chandelier was also sourced by David Collins Studio to animate the back area and “give it a more inviting, inhabited feel”. This piece was selected for its style, adding to the overall theme of the space.

“Decorative lighting played a big role in our redesign of the space,” continues Rawlings. “As a night-time venue with no natural light, decorative lighting was key to creating the desired vision for the bar as an intimate and exclusive space. The decorative lighting provided key opportunities to update the interiors and emulate a chic late-night cocktail bar atmosphere, highlighting the opulent textiles and adding a layer of sparkle, reflecting off the new material palette.

“The existing architectural lighting was refocused, rebalanced and in certain instances repositioned to work best with the new design intent. Some of the existing decorative lighting was removed to reduce the lighting levels and create the desired ambience.

“Part of the brief was to keep the existing ceiling architectural lighting and inbuilt banquette floor lighting. We updated these with new custom shades and installed a statement vintage chandelier. Movable candle-lit lamps and glass hurricanes sit on every surface, providing an easy way to inject light and create intimacy outside of structural constraints.”

Harris adds: “The decorative lighting and architectural lighting have very different purposes on a project like this. The decorative lighting is there to provide style and visual purpose, it really enhances and complements the 1920s ambience of the interiors. This combination with subtle architectural lighting enhancing elements such as the impressive new artwork by Robson Stannard, the back bar, the stage, and the rich drapery.

“While the purpose of each is very different, the combination complements the space and provides the backdrop to enable renowned bartender Salvatore Calabrese to provide the theatre and drama through his carefully curated cocktail menu.

“As Velvet is purely a night-time venue, it differed from a lot of the projects we work on where we need to consider the daytime view of the space,” she continues. “This enabled us to fully concentrate on the sumptuous, moody atmosphere that can be felt as soon as you step into the room. The interior styling, atmospheric light levels and candlelight provide a very dramatic venue. The aspiration was always to be the destination bar in London, and we feel this is successfully achieved.”

Turning the project around in such a short time positively forced the design direction and execution of this project. The teams relied on their well-established network of suppliers in order to complete the fit-out in time. Rawlings summarises: “As the hotel remained open during the refurbishment, there was a time pressure to get the project complete. We are used to working to tight deadlines and working for an existing client like Corinthia and in London makes it easier! We have excellent suppliers and manufacturers who know how we work and that is a huge help. Efficient communication and close collaboration with consultants and suppliers made the project possible in such a short time.

“For me, Velvet captures the essence of a mood. It’s about a feeling, the discreet excitement through the pleasure of music and cocktails. Velvet embodies a bygone era. It captures the spirit of intimacy, extravagance, and secluded indulgence. Gentle lighting and twinkling surfaces exude quality and informal glamour. Strong, iconic, nostalgic, and charming. A bar like no other in London; a palette carefully curated to contrast and harmonise with dramatic swooshes of colour adorning the walls, and pattern, reflection, and depth throughout. A Velvet backdrop to the ultimate cocktails, true personal service, and the celebrated Corinthia attention to detail.”

Iain Watson, Chief Executive Officer at David Collins Studio, says in agreement: “We are delighted to return to work with the Corinthia team and create the jewel-like Velvet bar in London that adds to our timeless signature bar portfolio. The project celebrates the Studio’s passion for the blending of periods and layering of materials to redefine modern elegance.”

Harris concludes on the lighting team’s success: “We are absolutely delighted with the finished result. Normally, on most projects, we can always find something we would consider doing differently but we are so pleased with the end result and wouldn’t change anything.”

Images: Alex Upton Photography

Goddard Littlefair

Launched in 2012, London and Porto-based luxury interior design studio Goddard Littlefair celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Sitting down with darc editor Sarah Cullen, Founders Martin Goddard and Jo Littlefair discuss the studio’s successes, personal inspirations and advice for budding designers.

Goddard Littlefair has worked on numerous standout projects over the last decade, with some particular highlights including Mondrian Shoreditch in London, Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, Mandarin Oriental Vienna in Austria, and Villa Copenhagen in Denmark.

“Where did 10 years go?” says Littlefair. “I guess starting any business, you don’t know what the future holds but you have ambitions and hopes. I think we’ve been incredibly lucky, but we’ve also worked really hard, and we’ve been a part of some amazing designs. We couldn’t have imagined what projects were going to come through our door, but they have given us opportunities and helped with our profile. You really can’t anticipate things like that.”

Goddard adds: “I think when you initially set up, you think it should work. We’ve both got a lot of experience in the industry, and we’ve worked for many years for other people. You make a lot of contacts throughout your career, and you think “ok it should work”. It’s really rewarding when connections turn around and say, “yeah ok, we’re really happy to work with you”. A few people that backed us, in the beginning, have continued backing us all the way through, and that has been really rewarding. It’s been so nice to work with the same groups, clients, and operators for many years, and that’s a testament to really good relations - and we’re just nice people,” Goddard laughs.

Setting the scene for us, the pair describe their initial conversations that resulted in the opening of the studio. “Martin contacted me on LinkedIn. We originally met and worked together in 2005 and then went our separate ways. I set up a business on my own and then had two children. Martin had gone to Canada and studied landscape design before returning to London.

Then basically, opportunities arose... Martin reached out, we started talking and hosting meetings all in restaurants and pubs, as we didn’t have an office; it was very much just on the hoof in London. I encouraged you, you encouraged me, and we just figured out it really worked, and so we thought “let’s just do this”. It all felt very natural.

“The partnership between myself and Martin is a bond that was ignited by a mutual understanding. We discovered we both spoke the same design language and that kind of connection is a very powerful one. We are both drawn naturally to different materiality, styles and colours and when you are able to learn from one another and combine the two things together, then the original idea blossoms into more than you ever envisaged in the first instance.”

“It was very much an organic progression from what we were doing,” agrees Goddard. “We would roll up to do client presentations in a taxi with a bag full of fabrics, samples, and a few sketches, and it ended up being a bit of a double act - waving our hands together at the end of the table in front of clients and they seemed to like it! As Jo’s said, it all felt very natural. And from that, we started building some really great people around us. Then, we got our first little office in Barbican, London; a tiny space in a loft above another design practice, but it was really sweet. It was our little space (only about seven of us could cram in there), but it was ours and it was all very exciting. We were both a bit like “Woah, ok what are we actually doing?”. Then we started landing some substantial jobs. You walk into a meeting when it’s the kick-off of a big project with lots of consultants, and you’re sitting there saying [shyly] “hello”. It was such a nice feeling. There was lots of hard work there but a natural progression.”

Despite their mutual love of and approach to design, the two designers had very different journeys and influences in their early lives before finding their feet in the industry.

“I was brought up in a council flat in East London,” explains Goddard. “There was not much design influence around me there. My grandfather was a cabinet maker, but that’s the only design-related part of my family. I found my own path through art. Through the process of going to an Art Foundation college [Middlesex], I gradually gravitated towards design, and interior design more specifically. So, I followed that track and went down the interiors and interior architecture route.”

In contrast, Littlefair was raised surrounded by the countryside. “I grew up on a farm surrounded by nature and very influenced by colour and the environment. I think I have some artists in my ancestry but nothing in my immediate family. My mother and grandmother were both very creative in terms of things they made that were useful, from cookery to creating garments and knitting. They were always working on things and reading. I was always into anything that was three-dimensional and tactile. That’s how I got into art; it was a hobby as well as something that I studied at school. I was completely driven by my own desire to do it. There were also a lot of family antiques in the farmhouse, which still make me feel at home even to this day.”

Goddard adds: “But I also think we both had a passion for travelling, exploring new things, and going to new places, and I think that is our reference library; our travelling experiences and seeing new places, architecture and cultures, etc. I think that’s where we’ve drawn a lot of our influences from, from our younger life and onwards even now. We love to soak up new places, which all filters down into our design work.”

“Travel has been a lifelong passion; Martin and I are both inquisitive and enchanted by different parts of the world,” says Littlefair. “Hotels are the window that tend to frame a lot of our experiences of destinations. For us, it’s extremely important to ensure that hotels enhance and elevate an experience by both meeting the needs of weary travellers and allowing them an avenue into the heart of the place. We are lucky enough to work across several sectors of interior design, but hotel design gives an element of escapism and scale that is addictive.”

As a destination that left a strong impression, Littlefair references France as a standout for her. “Paris was the first European city I went to, and I just couldn’t believe it - it was mind-blowing. It might be a bit of an obvious choice, but it’s a pretty special place.

“My parents took me to Versaille as well, which is quite random to take a teenage girl to (and my brother who was really not interested), but for me, the impression really lingered. The proportions, scale, grandeur, craftsmanship, the sense of patina, all those things were hugely impactful.”

For Goddard, it’s a little harder to narrow down: “London gives me a lot of inspiration, but I know it’s a bit of a boring answer. I love wandering around its streets, seeing things, looking up at the architecture, streetscapes, and the contrasts. There’s a lovely street where our new office is, it’s a very narrow Victorian street with old warehouses. When you look up at these Victorian buildings, there’s a modern office block and behind that is the Barbican Centre, all in one shot. It’s such a nice melting pot of how all the architecture goes together. I think it’s amazing, but any city in Europe has something special. There’s some beautiful architecture in Budapest, as well as in our favourite city Porto where our other office is, which is a cultural mishmash of Portugal and its lovely architecture. There isn’t a particular one for me, they all leave a mark on you.”

Since the studio’s infancy with a team of seven, the pair have now expanded their office in both numbers and locations. Littlefair elaborates: “It’s been quite organic and in response to the work that has come our way. You grow person by person, certainly in the very early stages. It’s a response to fulfilling that need at that time, and we’re now at a point where we have around 60 people here in London, which I have moments of “[gasp] really?!”. But I think that’s a really good number for us to be able to know each of those people, understand their skill sets and build relationships. That’s something Martin and I really like to do. We’re fundamentally designers, not just managing directors; we want to be involved with the clients, with the project managers, and the teams, and we like to know what’s going on, what the issues and challenges are, and so on. To be able to work with our team and ensure we put the right people on the right project is really vital.”

“And, we’ve got about 20 people in Porto now, which has grown in the last three years,” adds Goddard. “I think we’ve brought people in where we’ve seen we need skillsets. We’ve brought people in with great food and beverage experience because we wanted to make sure we were strong in that area. We have Epicurean, which is a little sub-brand of ours, which we use on those types of projects. We also wanted to bring in people that specialise in spas. I’m very passionate about spa design and wanted a team that has that knowledge, touch, and understanding to put that together.

“We also wanted some architectural capability as it’s particularly important for refurbishments and conversions of old buildings; sometimes you need a bit more of an interior sensibility on those structures, so architecturally it’s so good to have that asset in the team as well.

“Jo’s also a textiles designer, so I wanted more from that industry to come into our world and bring new ideas. We also have a chap from fine art; he has a lovely eye for detail. He did a lot of research into fine art but has fallen in love with interiors, and again he comes at it from a different angle.

“But we also want to bring in people with the right personality as well, someone we enjoy working with, and we want people to stay with us,” says Goddard. “We’ve had a couple of people that have joined us without a huge amount of experience, but we’ve really liked them so have invited them to stay and seen how it worked out, which has all turned out very positively.”

When asked about whether they would consider adding a lighting specialist to the team, Goddard references the highly skilled work of the lighting designers they collaborate with on projects. “If you look at our work, we do a lot with decorative lighting, because we love layering light; it’s not all just architectural. It’s all different levels of light from floor lamps to table lamps to wall lights, to chandeliers, which all create those layers of warm light. We also use a lot of bespoke lighting, which is sometimes sculptural, to create real moments for people to react to; they can be really important elements in a project.

“Lighting design can of course add that element of drama. We have a selection of designers we work closely with as consultants who are all much better at their speciality with knowledge of the technicalities and specifications etc. We collaborate closely to design a detailed brief that explains as much as possible about how we want a wall to be lit, for example, or where we need a pool of light or a focus on an important surface, or a moment we need to capture. The lighting designers are also much more skilled at putting the architectural layer on top of the decorative one.”

“I think [the importance and appreciation of the role of lighting and a lighting designer] has definitely increased over the years! It’s a really key ingredient that I think a lot of owners, investors, developers, and project managers all respect. As designers, we obviously knew the value very early on; if you get the ambience and atmosphere right, you can make a success of a space. Getting people to understand the importance of that as an investment piece as well has changed over the years; everyone now stresses that lighting is super important. So, for us it’s tabled very early on in our processes. We really think of the scenes we’re creating with lighting from a very early stage.”

Goddard expands on the importance of being aware of how lighting changes throughout the day as well, particularly referencing the flexibility of a hospitality space. “It’s not just a bar in the corner and the restaurant in another room, nowadays these spaces have broken down a lot more. That ambience that you would get in an F&B space now comes out into a lobby and other spaces. Environmentally, lighting designs are also key. We do a lot of work in resorts where we have to do dark sky lighting because of the effects on BREAM, etc. So, the value of good lighting, design, environment, energy saving, and all that other fun stuff that needs to happen, is very much front and centre.”

The topic then turned to discuss cyclical sustainable design and designing for longevity. “I just think design sensibly with respect for your things that can age, and age gracefully, and questioning whether you need to throw everything out every time you do a refurbishment. That can be interpreted as a sustainable way of treating design, but it’s something that we’ve just always considered. It’s just putting your sensible head on,” explains Littlefair.

“For the last 30 years, there has been a change in the amount that we need to be talking about sustainability, and from our perspective, we’ve always had it quite high on our list anyway, it’s just something that we’re personally very interested in. I think one of the things in design that is underestimated is the way that we approach it in terms of a sustainable and pragmatic way to what is already in existence, allowing space for things with patina, and appreciating how things age. Do they gel with the architecture already in the location and how much do you have to change for the sake of change? How much can be retained but improved? How do you design around things to make it all fit, or can you reuse and repurpose materiality, which has been been in place for a very long time? It goes hand in hand as well with cost savings. And cost savings have never been something that’s out of fashion; it’s always in fashion. In terms of a trend, it actually sits alongside sustainability quite naturally. We’ve always been driven to design cautiously, and carefully when we can but obviously if it needs to be a bigger bolder statement, we have to do that for the good of the project.”

Goddard elaborated more specifically on lighting, reflecting on the evolution of product availability over the last 30 years. Referencing fluorescence in particular, Goddard remembers the introduction of dimmable functions and colour temperature variations. These then developed into low-voltage and more energy-efficient versions before the later introduction of LEDs. It was at this point that a lot of designers became “very excited” with the possibilities available to “use these very small light sources”. “For us, it opened things up by allowing us to put lights into joinery, for example,” he says. “And when talking about lighting design, I think since the introduction of LED, it has gone leaps and bounds ahead of where it was in terms of the opportunities, and things we can now do with the lighting effects, such as wall washing. I think yes, environmentally, it is important, but I think the design opportunities given to us as the technology evolves is also actually amazing.”

Picking up on the sustainable and conscious design points, Littlefair notes that these are areas where classification in the interior design industry could be improved. “I feel that in terms of this sustainability angle, we’re often asked for a lot of thought leadership on this, which is great, but I think from our perspective, it’s understanding how to quantify what we put into projects. For example, how do we quantify in terms of the location of a manufacturer of an item to put into a project, and what does that give you in terms of co2 emissions? What is the reality of that product being recyclable? Do you get a certain point score from that sort of element of the product? Does every product that you put into a project have a score that then leads you to an ultimate qualification for the product? How well has the project done in being sustainable overall? At the minute, it’s very open; we try the best we can. And that is absolutely something we’re doing on a daily basis. But what is the long term? We’ve got rug tests for fabric, variability and durability, we’ve got fire standards, we’ve got soil and stain treatment, repellences, and things like that, but what else? What can we do on sustainability therefore to give it a score, that is easy to understand for designers internationally so that we know that we can design with some assurance?”

Goddard interjects: “We’re now seeing some finances linked to sustainability credentials too, so the developers are starting to need to demonstrate they are walking the walk as well as talking to talk about sustainability. Clients also need this information so they can go back to their investors and claim “yes, we are absolutely ticking these boxes”.

“I think the sort of system that Jo is describing would be an amazing way to report back, because it’s very difficult at the moment on traditional terms, for example with BREEAM and similar organisations, with regards to their tick boxes. They are fine but they’re not always location-specific, but are always product specific. With regards to how we qualify/judge the sustainability status of a project, at the moment we have broad brush measures but we could be more granular.

“We need to link it not only to sustainability but also our duty of care to things like modern slavery - where the product is being made, and how people are being treated. All of this stuff is really important to talk about as it could be part of this scoring system as well.”

Littlefair reinforces her point that the system needs to be in “an international language,” and “something that we can all understand and not complicate”. “We need to work together on this. We have talked to organisations about what can be done in the future. At the moment it’s all a bit of big-picture thinking.”

“And I think that pushes suppliers to make sure they’re compliant,” adds Goddard.

Another area within the industry the pair believe could use some development in is education. “Suppliers need to get into universities,” explains Goddard. “We never had a supplier come into my university to talk to us. Very rarely you might get taken out to a furniture show.

“But education from the industry back into education is really important. I think any course that gives you a year out in the industry is gold dust. That is my advice. Anyone looking at doing a degree in interior design, or any design, have a year out in the industry. I think you learn tonnes and then you come back to your last year very well connected.

“I think we need to encourage suppliers and manufacturers to establish connections with universities. So that part of the coursework is actually literal and it’s reciprocal. Chances are, a student who has suddenly been exposed to a timber floor manufacturer, for example, will specify a timber floor in their first project. I think you could also double up on those sustainability credentials and get that into that conversation.

“Education just needs to focus on what the end product is. It’s not killing creativity, but understanding how commercial environments work, and how you need to produce things. I was lucky to do a year out in my degree in my third year, and I came into my fourth year with so many more tools to use in my project work, not just changing my creativity, but how I presented it, what went on to the page, and how I thought, but also producing it in a speed that matches commercially.”

Bringing the discussion back to the studio’s success, the pair remark on some of their most notable projects, including respected wellness residential projects such as Southbank Place and the Chelsea Barracks Spa, and in hotels such as Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet and Corinthia Palace Malta.

“Over the last 10 years we’ve seen the conversations around wellness change from talking about it as being an added bonus, time and budget permitting, and confined to a designated area of an overall space, to now being an element that should be integrated into every part of an interior as much as possible,” says Littlefair. “As designers of interior spaces, no longer simply confined to the spa, we need to articulate a response that delivers on an aesthetic level and beyond, creating an environment to alter moods and assist rejuvenation.

“Getting the commission to work on Gleneagles in 2015 and working with Ennismore was amazing,” she continues. “The property is incredible; the resorts are incredible. I was really able to put the heart back into that property.

“All of the principal projects that we worked on with Starwood Capital were part of those defining moments, in our early years when the business transformed. And then you’ve got people working with the likes of Hilton, Corinthia, Berkeley Homes, Canary Wharf… And now we’ve got to the final third of our decade, working with Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental, and really being able to breathe some life into them and go on a journey, and learning about craftsmanship in a different country. Every project is a learning curve; it still is, and always will be. You’ve got to be open to that at all points. And so, we look forward to the future. We’ve done a lot with this decade, and we’re still on that journey; who knows what the future holds?”

Looking at what’s next for the studio and what the teams are working on, Littlefair was quick to not say anything for fear of jinxing it! Goddard on the other hand is eager to broaden the studio’s geographical reach further to the States, Middle East and Europe. “The more we can do in Europe, the better,” he remarks. “I’d also like a landmark project in London. I’d like to do a real standout. We’ve got some lovely projects in the city already, but I mean a real standout property would be amazing to do as it always ticks the box for us.”

To finish off, in addition to Goddard’s advice on taking a year in the industry to experience the commercial world during your training and education, the final pieces of advice from the pair include being humble and finding your specialism. “I did textile design; I had no idea that there was a whole career you could do in interior design,” explains Littlefair. “I was way behind Martin in that respect. I thought interior design was for the exclusive echelons of the uber-rich, and it is to a degree, but when you go into hospitality design, there’s a whole world where you can get really involved and actually make interiors for everybody to share, which is really lovely. That’s why we love hospitality design - the theatre of it. I suffered from a lack of experience and understanding of what jobs there were out there, and I think jobs are constantly being created and there are different roles that we hear about all the time. It’s not as straightforward as it used to be. Within interiors there are specialisms. So just go for what you really enjoy, do what you really love doing, practice and hone it, and do as much of it as you can to soak it all up.”

Goddard concludes with one of the pieces of advice he received when first starting out, “be humble”.

“Appreciate the people around you who have got more experience, more talent. They’re doing their job because they’ve worked hard to do it. It’s not going to be given to you on a plate, you have to learn. As a designer you need to get the experience, you need to follow a project all the way through from start to finish. You need to hone your skills and communication with clients and with your colleagues. There’s so much to learn and you have to grow as a person; it takes time. Hospitality projects may take two years, three years, or five years depending on the size of the new build or refurbishment. You need to have the patience to learn and be open to learning from the people around you. And if you’re lucky to have really good people you work with and they take you under their wing, appreciate that. Appreciate that they’re taking time out from themselves to teach you. Get your head down, work hard, and learn.”

“And be a nice person!” exclaims Littlefair.

Workspace Design Show to present top workplace trends for 2023

(UK) - The show, taking place between 27- 28 February 2023, brings an extensive exhibitor line-up where the workplace interiors community can gather and celebrate the latest in office innovation at London's Business Design Centre.

Furniture designer Pedrali will be exhibiting the multifunctional BuddyHub Desk, a functional and efficient workstation where users can concentrate and isolate, to partition open spaces and create collaborative and meeting areas. Spacestor will be launching its newest product development, Arcadia, a space-making toolkit for designers, which brings the New Landscape for Work.

RS Barcelona will showcase other fully flexible products, among them its ‘you and me’ ping pong table which caters for the recent trend ‘microbreaks’ which are proven to increase productivity. With mental and physical well-being at the forefront of workplace design, Technogym will be showcasing elements of its product ecosystem: connected smart equipment for end-user access wellness. 

BIOHM, a London-based materials innovator and lighting product designer, will present the biomaterials exhibition, with biological systems at the heart of its inspiration.

Workspace Design Show will also present a vast range of products that aid privacy and sound control. Amongst these are award-winning firm The Meeting Pod Company, known for their commercial and domestic, indoor and outdoor meeting pods. Mute, meanwhile, will be displaying various solutions to regain focus and allow conversations to flow. Making a return to the show are leaders in sustainable and acoustic finishes, Woven Image, who will be demonstrating the importance of ceilings in acoustic control. Fora Form, one of Scandinavia's largest furniture manufacturers for social areas will also be exhibiting.

The event will also host some of the industry’s leading architectural lighting specialists, demonstrating the move away from harsh office lighting towards more human-centric solutions. Collaborators include FUTURE Designs, sponsors of the bar area. This UK-based firm specialises in quality bespoke lighting solutions and has recently gained the Carbon Careful sustainable accreditation. Lighting exhibitors include Erco which has a whole portfolio based entirely on LED technology and Delta Light, recognised throughout the world for its subtle blend of ambience, elegance, functionality, and design, both in interior and exterior lighting. The Indoor and Outdoor intelligent lighting specialist, iGuzzini will also be exhibiting their latest products.

A wide array of leading architects and designers will also be showcasing their perspectives on the latest workplace trends. A series of stunning features will be presented, including The REVIVAL Bar by Moser Associates; The Entrance ‘Destination Workplace Rebirth’ by Gensler, The Lounge: Change by Design, by BDP;

International furniture specialist, The Furniture Practice will curate this year's Design Talks Lounge in collaboration with the multidisciplinary studio Acrylicize. The main stage space will bring together key pieces from leading furniture manufacturers, including Moroso, Andreu World, Arper, Fredericia and Vitra, alongside an immersive installation celebrating material innovation within furniture and interiors.

Secto Design invests in bio-based packaging

(Finland) - Secto Design has made a significant investment in Finnish start-up company Woamy as an investment into bio-based packaging.

Woamy is an Aalto University spin-out startup which brings to the market a novel ecological cellulose-based foam material to replace unsustainable plastic foams.

”Woamy's mission is fully in line with our own one. Woamy's passion is to make the foam industry sustainable. We as a manufacturer of sustainable design lights want to invest in responsible inventions for a better future - from the actual products all the way to the packaging," states Joakim Jusélius, Board Member of Secto Design. "This brings great opportunities to our own production, where we are driven to eliminate the last remaining trace of plastic still left in our packaging materials. Innovations like this are key to progression and we look forward to this exciting journey with Woamy."

The ecological solution by Woamy to replace plastic foams has been inspired by nature and driven by a decade of scientific research. The material is fully bio-based, biodegradable and recyclable. The material is scalable and adjustable to consumer needs. In addition, it is also lightweight yet super strong, as well as entirely toxic-free. The team behind Woamy continuously seeks innovative ways of exploring cellulose-based foams as suitable alternatives to replace plastic in various applications ranging from protective packaging to shoe insoles as well as building insulation.

With the investment in Woamy, Secto Design continues to support fellow Finnish companies addressing the environmental challenges. In 2020 Secto Design invested in Paptic Ltd, a producer of packaging material made of renewable wood fibres, which looks at substituting plastic in packaging.

Clerkenwell Design Week Announces New Partnership

(UK) - Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW), one of the UK’s leading design festivals, returns to London between 23 – 25 May 2023 – with a stronger-than-ever programme including the addition of Design London.

“With the global design community descending on London in May, Clerkenwell Design Week is the perfect new home for Design London,” says Marlon Cera-Marle, Design Division Director of Media 10. “Amalgamating Design London (which was formerly held in Greenwich in September) into the programme of events further bolsters the experience of Clerkenwell Design Week, as the most anticipated design destination after Milan.”

The 12th edition of CDW will again take place in the heart of Clerkenwell – historically a melting pot of craftspeople and makers, and now home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else in the world. The 2023 festival is set to offer the biggest programme to date – with more than 600 events taking place across the EC1 neighbourhood.

“We’re thrilled to be back with Clerkenwell Design Week this May,” says Cera-Marle. “CDW is always known for being one of the key destinations for specification – as well as discovering new talent and ideas – for architects, interior designers and creative minds alike.
“This year we have a strong line-up of brands, partners and speakers joining our programme – which we look forward to announcing in spring. From product showcases to one-off installations, headline talks to networking events, CDW 2023 will bring some of the most exciting and forward-thinking content to Clerkenwell – while celebrating the best of design and creativity from around the world.”

The 2023 festival welcomes two new additions to its exhibition venues across Clerkenwell, taking the total number to 12. Hosting an array of temporary shows, this year’s venues include:

• Design Fields – home to international furniture and interiors brands
• Contract – home to commercial interiors
• Light – home to international lighting brands
• Project – home to workplace furniture and solutions
• Elements – home to architectural hardware and finishes
• British Collection – home to the best of British interiors brands
• Detail – home to luxury interiors
• Platform – home to emerging design talent
• Old Sessions House – home to brand pop-ups and activations, and also the festival hub offering CDW visitors free access between 23 – 25 May
• Ceramics of Italy – home to Italian tile brands
• (NEW) The Garden – home to outdoor furniture
• (NEW) Catapult – home to contemporary design for office, hospitality and retail

Together, these 12 unique venues will present over 300 design brands and emerging talent – covering furniture, kitchens and bathrooms, textiles, home interior accessories, lighting, materials and surfaces. Some of the participants include Ercol, Dare Studio, Benchmark, Another Country, Christian Watson, James Burleigh, KI, Meridiani, Saba Italia, Samuel Heath, Romo, Ultrafabrics, Spark & Bell, Chelsom, Jonathan Coles, and Curiousa.

Another significant aspect of CDW is its network of showroom partners, with an extensive line-up of topic-led initiatives and events; from product launches and exhibitions to workshops and panel discussions. This year, expect to see over 130 established names from both the UK and overseas – including Ideal Standard, Kohler, VitrA, Cosentino, Gessi, Iris Ceramica, Arper, Fritz Hansen, Fredericia, Icons of Denmark, Modus, Flokk, Orangebox, Bisley, Lintex, Allermuir, Bolon, Camira Fabrics, Formica, Solid Nature, Havwoods, Marazzi, Strata Tiles and Parkside.

Meanwhile, eight destinations across Clerkenwell – including the Goldsmiths’ Centre, Paxton Locher House, Bourne and Hollingsworth, Groupwork, the Museum of the Order of St John, Yotel, Brewhouse Yard and Cowcross Yards – will be taken over by a selection of international brands and trade institutions; for instance, the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Businesses and Incheon City will present a design showcase at the Order of St John.

Alongside product and showroom showcases, CDW will also bring a series of specially commissioned, site-specific installations – as part of CDW Presents – as well as brand activations from the likes of Budweiser Budvar, Baux, Lammhults, Jennifer Newman, Texaa, Swatchbox, Habbio and Universal Fibers to the streets of Clerkenwell during the festival.

Also returning to CDW is Conversations at Clerkenwell – a compelling schedule of daily talks aimed to explore current industry topics, drawing upon insight, opinion and debates from designers, architects and business leaders alike. Curated by brand consultant, Katie Richardson, the 2023 talks will be hosted in a purpose-built theatre in Spa Fields – sponsored by RAK Ceramics. The full line-up of speakers will be revealed in Spring.

Last but not least, throughout the festival, various design studios will open their doors to visitors who can participate in a range of creative workshops – as part of the Fringe programme – whilst enjoying a variety of discounts and deals offered by local food and drink partners.

The 12th edition of Clerkenwell Design Week takes place across EC1, London from 23 – 25 May 2023.

Designed to Last

Foscarini releases a new colour hue, Anthracite, for its Aplomb collection. darc speaks with designers Paolo Lucidi and Luca Pevere about its production journey that began 10 years ago.

Foscarini’s well-known Aplomb pendant has received a new, “non-colour” finish: Anthracite, a neutral grey-toned cement, created in collaboration with a small, Italian family business Crea. Originally designed by Paolo Licidi and Luca Pevere and launched in 2010, the Aplomb’s sleek clean-cut shapes have made the piece a classic in the Foscarini range.

“The protagonist is a special cement developed to be pleasing to the touch, composed of an exclusive fluid mixture poured into a mould,” says the brand. “Aplomb is a re-composition of contrasts: Foscarini has transformed a hard, rough and only slightly pliable material into a lamp with minimal thickness, produced with a craft-based process by Italian experts in cement processing.”

Designers Lucidi and Pevere spoke with darc about the new design and its inspirations, giving an insight into the material choices and process. “The Aplomb concrete pendant has an imperfect surface that gives it an expressive, handmade quality,” describes Pevere. “The design idea was born more than 10 years ago at the end of a design experience in the outdoor field in which we learned to use natural materials such as terracotta, ceramic and natural-based composites. We mainly designed vases where the tactile and visual sensation of the surface was very important. In that period many industrial products were influenced by the first Apple products: smooth, basic, pure. Perfect. By linking the rejection of this homologation, which contaminated many product sectors, to the design experience that has just ended, the inspiration came: a lamp that did not focus on the lighting effect but on its mass when switched off. Its weight and its imperfection. Foscarini was the ideal partner.

“Aplomb is manufactured by family-run Crea Cemento in the province of Brescia. The fixture is part of Foscarini’s wide-ranging Maestrie project, which documents the craftsmanship and know-how behind its finished products. The aim of the project is to look beyond the brand in order to understand the values and culture that have made a particular object possible, the people and places that have gone into its creation. It is the expertise of these craftsmen and artisans that Maestrie showcases and celebrates. The development of the Aplomb lamp is indicative of Foscarini’s creative relationship with its production partners but also demonstrates the artisanal know-how that is the foundation of the success of so many of the high-quality furnishings of Made in Italy.”

The intentional decision to use a cement finish was aimed at “introducing a new material that is little used in the world of lighting”. The Aplomb is a “re-composition of contrasts [that] transformed a hard, rough and poorly pliable material into a lamp with minimal thickness”.

Ideally suited to contemporary interiors, the anthracite version of the Aplomb also features an aluminium neck piece that blends the cement and the cable, matching in a dark hue that aids the transitions of materials.

With regards to the design process, Lucidi explains that it was “tortuous, non-linear, and empirical. The [cement] production process was suited to large castings for architecture or useful for producing heavy elements with a low aesthetic value for common buildings; typically steps, balustrades, fences, manholes, sidewalks, etc.” This forced the design team to challenge the design process to be more flexible and suited to refined product production.

“Our intuitions always had to be verified in the laboratory and modified if the constraints did not allow their feasibility; the concept was immutable, the form was not. The team was so close-knit, passionate and stubborn that it ensured today's Aplomb exactly fit our first design sketch.

“The original drawing for the funnel-shaped pendant was created back in June of 2008. We had approached master craftsman Giovanni Piccinelli, founder of Crea Cemento about producing the design in concrete for Foscarini. We wanted him to execute a thin, cast concrete pendant, hung by a slender cylindrical neck, all of concrete. But upon seeing the specifications, Piccinelli said it could not be done. Foscarini insisted on the project, asking to reconsider. 'When you’re being challenged, you’re probably in a good position to find something new,' Carlo Urbinati, Foscarini Founder and President, says. 'Often, the real meaning of ‘it cannot be done’ is actually ‘I’ve just never done that before.’ Piccinelli went back to the drawing board and began crafting fiberglass moulds for prototypes. He had made thousands of moulds during his decades-long career, but they had been for pillars and staircases, not fancy pendants. The scale of Aplomb was entirely different.

“Meanwhile, the economic downturn of 2008 hit the construction industry hard. As Crea’s other business dried up, Piccinelli and his sons kept working on prototypes for Aplomb, spending more than two years perfecting the recipe of sand, cement, leveling compounds, and other additives to produce a mixture that was fluid enough to pour, yet would retain its shape without breaking. Making matters more complicated, Foscarini had certain requirements, such as a perfectly turned edge and a smooth finish unmarred by large pockmarks. All of these elements could be thrown off by a simple change in temperature or humidity in the workshop. Finally, the team hit upon a recipe that produces a pendant that is sturdy yet delicate. (The name “Aplomb'' refers to the construction tool that uses gravity to determine a vertical line—a plumb bob— and also to having an attitude of poise or self-confidence.) In 2010, the pendant officially went into production.”

As mentioned, the first challenge the team faced was Piccinelli’s first response that it was impossible to make due to the fragility of the material in such a thin state. Further challenges they had to overcome included establishing a range of variability, a “standardised variation”, especially with regards to surface yield. Thirdly, longterm, the thermal shoches due to ignition broke the lamp.

Lucidi continues, walking us through the construction stages of putting the Aplomb together. “We initially walked the reinforced concrete road by incorporating wire and steel rod into the concrete. We soon realised that this involved flaws and breakages. Today the Aplomb is made of concrete, single material. Components made of other materials are assembled later and grant the tolerances and expansions it needs.

“The mixture of cement, sand, water, self-leveling compound, and other additives used to make Aplomb is proprietary, and varies according to the temperature, humidity, and presence or absence of colour pigments. Before filling the mould, Ndiaye Mamadou (from Crea) uses two vessels to decant the concrete to help eliminate large air bubbles, then lets it sit until the remaining bubbles rise to the surface. Then he slowly pours the mixture into the mould. Sandblasting gives the Aplomb its soft exterior, yet won’t obscure the signature imperfections that are formed by small air bubbles during mixing. Each pendant is sandblasted both inside and out for consistency.

“On the one hand the final sanding does away with any brutalist effect on the cement itself, and on the other there is emphasis on the controlled irregularity of the material thanks to a grain size with pores open to various extents, making each lamp unique, just slightly different from the next.

“Foscarini’s certain requirements meant all of these elements could be thrown off by a simple change in temperature or humidity in the workshop. As Carlo Piccinelli said 'We weigh the ingredients and mix them according to a special recipe, but the success ultimately relies on the sensitivity of the person doing the mixing.'”

With each Aplomb being made by hand and the assembly completed separately, the attention to detail is evident. “What is sophisticated and rare is the know-how and sensitivity of those who produce it,” adds Pevere. “The bricklayer's plumb line effect was one of the sensations we wanted to retain throughout. A weight that stretched the self-supporting electric cable properly.

“It is a successful lamp because it does not just suit one specific sector but is very transversal: residential, contract, hospitality, corporate, etc. It can be used in assonance in warm and material environments or by creating a pleasant contrast in extremely minimal and pure environments.

“Aplomb is the first concrete lamp offered on the market with these technical specifications. As concrete is usually used in outdoor spaces and in large quantities like for floors or panels, Aplomb brings a lighter, minimalistic approach to concrete into an indoor space–making it a very unique focal point in any space. Aplomb is perfect for adding an industrial touch to a space without making it feel cold or heavy. Concrete is durable, versatile, rugged, authentic and has a natural aesthetic appeal–and paired with Aplomb's intricate and delicate form of its funnel-shaped pendant, it adds a beautiful contrast to any room.

“Every new lamp that enters the Foscarini catalogue adds something new. Concrete was a new material for Foscarini, never used before in a lamp. It is a product designed over 10 years ago, and we think it is aging well. Not only in the panorama of Foscarini products but we also believe in the places it illuminates.”

Aplomb’s family of lightweight lamps is available in three sizes and various colours. Its proportions enable it to be used alone, e.g. on a coffee table, in linear configurations to light a surface, or in compositions at different heights. The built-in LED light source recessed into the body of the lamp sends a wide beam of light down towards the underlying surface.

Hyde Park Château London, UK

The Hyde Park Chateâu was envisioned as a French chateâu-style inspired residence with monumental architectural proportions and refined luxurious materials.
Every room in the house unveils as a sequence of narratives framed by contemporary art and furniture. Interiors and architecture was completed by Javier Robles Studio, with bespoke lighting and furniture by Robles’ brand, Lumifer.
A major focal point of the project is Lumifer’s monumental custom Helix lighting installation, which accentuates the materials and geometry of the grand staircase.
The living room, dining room, and foyer follow the same style and architectural proportions, adorned by minimal decorative themes that are unified by the diverse and harmonious lighting and furniture collections designed by Robles and made by Lumifer.
Each Lumifer piece was carefully selected, customised, and coordinated to create a seamless and timeless design vocabulary magnified by the craftsmanship and richness of materials and finishes that are synonymous with the brand.
Lighting collections featured throughout the property include Helix, Navis, NYX, Switch, Titan, and Bouy.

Private Apartment, Hong Kong

For this new project, Luxxu pays homage to the architectural style of Hong Kong, introducing a modern and contemporary feel to the luxury oasis. Structure alone, the penthouse was imagined as a sort of paradisial landscape with sweeping city views, and then, Luxxu decorated the interiors with high-end designs that epitomised the modern notion of luxury but in a lighter yet vigorous colour scheme, especially playing on the timeless appeal of various shades of brown and neutral hues, eye-catching gold accents, and an abundance of greenery. All divisions benefit from a bright atmosphere with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow one to embrace the region’s phenomenal skyline.

As we move through the apartment, multiple Luxxu products illuminate the way. Starting in the hallway, Luxxu’s Waterfall II wall lamp illuminates the area with a unique glow courtesy of its gold-plated brass frames and crystal tubes. For the living room, every detail was thoroughly thought out to make a statement. The tray ceiling and the lighted brass walls immediately set the tone whereas the Shard suspension by Luxxu becomes a lighting installation in its own right.

In the dining room, the Burj chandelier offers a more opulent nature while becoming an ode to the modern age. In the bathroom, besides plenty of natural lighting, this space also benefits from the harmonious and architectural allure of the Pharo lighting fixtures.

What better way to boost your creativity than to work to the sight of the most magnificent mountain views. Luxxu took this concept and designed a highly simulative interior with floor-to-ceiling windows in the office. Here, the Tycho rectangular suspension was selected as the main luminaire, while the Waterfall technical wall lamp and the Tycho table lamp back up its stately layout.

Specifying Bespoke Lighting

As part of the LiGHT 22 talks programme, Specifying Bespoke Lighting looked at how popular bespoke lighting services are becoming? What kind of projects call for it? What are some of the complexities and processes involved? Featuring some of the leading designers in bespoke lighting, this talk aimed to answer all of these questions and more.

Panellists included: Simon Shuck of Inspired by Design; Darren Orrow of Into; Mark Sutton Vane of Sutton Vane Associates; Matt Burns of Unibox.

Venini appoints new Art Director

(Italy) - Architect and designer Marco Piva has taken up the role of Art Director at Venini with the aim of redefining the company’s product-focused creative path, starting from the study of its historic and cultural archival heritage.

The Milanese designer is particularly interested in the ability of an object to intercept the aesthetic and functional “expectations” of users and, consequently, in the reaction that such an object is able to elicit in them. Bringing this attitude into play, he will work on enhancing the brand’s allure, interpreting it and capturing the attention of the brand’s enthusiasts and collectors. With his long-standing experience and professionalism, Piva will also devote particular attention and energy to engaging and developing the brand in the luxury contract world with hotels, restaurants and exclusive residences with the opportunity of hosting Venini products and installations.

A traveller even before becoming a designer, Piva is an innovator dedicated to creating unique design solutions characterised by style freedom, functionality and emotion. Studio Marco Piva, with major offices in Milan and Shanghai, has carried out important projects in Italy and abroad such as the prestigious Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan, the Pantheon Iconic Hotel in Rome, Palazzo Nani in Venice and the Port Palace in Montecarlo, in addition to multiple projects in Asia such as the FengTai Financial Center in Beijing, the Culture and Art Center Design of Yuhang and the Tonino Lamborghini Towers complex in Chengdu, which will be inaugurated in the spring of 2023.

Piva says proudly about his new role as art director of the Furnace: “It is a great satisfaction to be a part of a prestigious company of the calibre of Venini, rooted in Murano’s traditional art of glassmaking but with a keen eye to the future. The brand has collaborated with artists and designers such as Carlo Scarpa and Gio Ponti, who have made the history of design in the last century, and it is a privilege for me to work to contribute to its ongoing success.”

Silvia Damiani, President of Venini, has said: “I’m really excited about this new collaboration. Not only does Marco Piva have extraordinary creative experience, but he has also taken part in prestigious projects on an international scale. His figure is important on the Italian and foreign cultural scene. Marco Piva will project Venini towards an even more cosmopolitan dimension.”