Jordan Cluroe & Russell Whitehead

January 3, 2018

Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio share their top tips for creating drama and an individual style through the use of decorative lighting in the home.

Founded in 2014 by Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead, 2LG Studio is a design practice based in South East London. Working in residential interiors, creative consultancy and product design, the duo’s adaptable and personal approach to design allows them to respond uniquely to the specific human needs of each project. Combining form, function and decorative joy in equal measure – with a background in theatre – collaboration has always been central to their work and has naturally progressed into their design ethic.

Not ones for sticking to set ‘design rules’, the duo adopt an individual approach to each project they’re involved with and find joy in the different challenges and inspirations each new client brings to the table, as they explained to darc…

It keeps the work fresh and we’re excited about getting into each person’s mind-set to find out how best to help make the experience of living in their space the best it can be.

Key factors for us though, are staying true to the architecture and true to yourself. We like to build stories into each room with vintage pieces or new work and unique commissions; it’s important that the client comes on the journey with us and develops connections to the pieces we choose and makers we work with.

In recent times, there has been a definite shift in client’s attitudes towards interior design, particularly in the UK. For so long, people have been mainly concerned with the value of bricks and mortar, not necessarily with the experience of living in their home for right now. This is now shifting and we couldn’t be happier about it!

It’s so important to live in your space for you, rather than what might happen later on down the line when you sell – you should be showing your home off to friends. This change in attitude has led to braver choices in interiors and a move back to decorative spaces.

Thanks to an explosion of design ideas and information now available on the internet – specifically via social media, clients are prepared to go further than they might have dared before. This has pros and cons – sometimes too much information and inspiration overload can lead to paralysis of homeowners afraid to make the wrong choice; that’s where we come in to give confidence and help navigate the bombardment of inspiration, to find a focused interior that our clients feel represents them and helps them to recharge. Homes are important retreats and it’s our job to deliver atmosphere as well as function and impact.

In terms of lighting within the home, the shift in the contract market towards the use of decorative lighting within interior design is now trickling down into the residential sector. Lighting is key to creating living, breathing spaces that make you feel. It can shape space, create moments of wonder, ambience and function. With open plan living spaces becoming more and more common, it is all the more important to use lighting as a way to define different spaces.

While spotlights are still a strong reference point for most residential clients, we try to use them sparingly for bathrooms and kitchens and then gently lead clients towards more decorative pieces for the rest of the home. We much prefer the ambience of lamp light for lounges or TV snugs and love to create wow moments with statement lights over dining tables or in entrance halls, as it’s good to have a moment of theatre if you love to entertain guests. All it takes is one key light and it will set the tone for the entire house in one stunning moment.

Lighting can be the jewellery of the home – the Rolex watch, the diamond ring, the gold cufflinks, or even the designer fashion jewellery with a playful impact – whatever suits you on a personal level. Some clients are much braver now when it comes to decorative statement lighting and we tend to combine this with architectural lighting in specific areas to shape the spaces throughout a home.

We are lucky to have worked on several large-scale renovations where we have been involved from the beginning and were able to have an input on the bones of the lighting schemes. For example, we recently installed an architectural seamless strip lighting in the ceiling of an entrance tunnel at a Victorian townhouse, which was only possible because we were involved from the beginning. It creates a moment of subtle drama that makes a great impact as soon as you enter the space.

In terms of products suited to residential projects, we’re big fans of using wall lights to create ambience in a living room and decorative pendants above a dining table. Pendants also work beautifully as bedside lights, leaving the side table clear for your water glass and book. Our Brockley project really benefitted from some star lighting pieces such as the Major Light by Roll & Hill. It’s a huge sculptural piece that sits above the dining table in an open kitchen / diner / living room and took a big chunk of the interior budget, but the impact is huge and connects the three spaces beautifully.

“The master suite at the top of the Brockley house project features a double height ceiling and the statement lighting continues in the ensuite with a stunning Giopato & Coombes Bolle light. It’s so rare to find such decorative lighting for a bathroom with IP rating, so this was a real winner! We love the passion of Giopato & Coombes, they are as curious about technology advances as they are about ornamentation and that leads to pieces of real quality.

When it comes to lighting advice for a project, we have worked with Atrium before now on specifying architectural lighting, as their knowledge is huge and they’re a great help in finding the right light for the job and telling us about new technologies available. We also work with Astro Lighting who have proven to be a very useful supplier for functional lighting and who are a great resource for statement pendants or lamps with a design edge.

“CTO Lighting also has some incredibly architectural statement lights that we showcased in our Design House project and more recently we have been working with Decode and designer Dan Schofield. We love their new Clam and Bulk lights – so simple yet brutalist. Areti is also a go-to for us, we used their lights in our first ever project, one that has gone on to be shared many times; and Rothschild and Bickers is a firm favourite for more classic interior projects.”

The lighting influences don’t stop there for the designers, with the duo telling darc of their love for Normann Copenhagen, Hay and Petite Friture and admitting they’re “completely obsessed” with the conceptual and organic glasswork of Bocci.

“Having spent some time in New York earlier this year, we also found the design scene there incredibly inspiring. It felt more like an art gallery scene… So many brands out there such as Apparatus Studio, Roll & Hill and Lindsey Adelman are pushing the boundaries in lighting and keeping us very excited!

Lighting literally illuminates your life, shaping spaces, defining functions, creating atmosphere or drama,” the duo conclude. “Homes are important retreats now and its our job to deliver atmosphere as well as function and impact. Lighting is a layer in every interior that deserves plenty of time, care and attention.