When it comes to lighting our homes, Australians have in recent years taken to the task like an artist takes to their canvas.
Indeed, many a home now looks at lighting as a fundamental layer of creative interior design rather than simply a functional purpose.
This most wonderful trend has effectively reinvented the look and feel of our homes, and enabled an industry of artisans to not only establish themselves, but to thrive.
We caught up with some of the country’s lighting luminaries (couldn’t resist) to get their take.
Founder of industrial design consultancy BT-D (which features an in-house range of lighting and furniture), Jonathon Ben-Tovim is well placed to comment on lighting in Australia.
And he’s excited by what he sees.
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“The last three to four years has seen a crop of independent designers emerge in Australia, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. This movement is producing lights and products that fall outside the normal manufacturing and traditional confines of lighting. Instead, they deliver small batches of highly original works,” Jonathan told us.
“Their work really suits the Australian market. They’re not as polished as some of the designs we see overseas. There’s a level of roughness, ruggedness and naturalness that is so complimentary to our environment,” he said.
“Bespoke, handmade lighting is really exciting us. Locals like Lab de Stu and Christopher Boots are surprising us with genuinely unexpected design responses. This freshness has given interiors – and the designing of interiors – a true lift,” said Jonathan.
He attributes the proliferation of lighting artisans to a combination of influences.
“New online avenues for people to market themselves along with new fabrication processes that enable designers to create smaller batches have helped carry this wave. Reality TV shows also has to be given some credit – it has certainly helped a wider audience recognise lighting can and should be a statement piece in their homes. In fact more and more Australians seem to be viewing art pieces as an alternative to art work,” he said.
Brisbane’s Mutating Creatures is the sort of small outfit that is bound to get you excited about design in general.
Specialising in lighting design, furniture solutions, graphic art, 3D prints and handcrafted products, these guys are the sort of discovery you want to tell your friends you’ve found.
Their work in home lighting exemplifies exactly what Jonathan’s saying.
Highly creative, unique pieces, Mutating Creatures is indeed producing illuminated works of art.
Michel Cornielje thinks there is still plenty of scope for more artisanal contributors to the industry, and he’d be happy to see more of them in Brisbane. But until that occurs, Michel and his team are certainly giving homes a fresh injection with Mutating Creatures pieces that ‘pop’.
Their table lights are wonderfully sculptural; they’re destined to become interior accents that will attract the eye and become a real talking point.
The 3D printed lights are literally the product of creative freestyling - the team was working with some 3D printing concepts and the lights soon took shape.
Without skipping a beat the Mutating Creatures crew took them to the next level, double dipping the tips in a variety of bold colours to create remarkably relaxed, yet catchy works of art. It’s this fluid creative and manufacturing process Michel thinks works for the consumer.
“We were just coming up with designs and then suddenly we had this idea form. The double dipping is a bit of a journey to somewhere different for us. The beauty in small-scale operations like ours means that we can have this flexibility not only in the design, but also the delivery. We just completed an order for a Tasmanian customer who wanted a series of customised lighting, a much larger version of the original. We can respond to these kinds of requests in a way that major manufacturers just can’t,” said Michel.
“Also, we retain a super high grade of quality. For example these lights are made from Certified Australian Marine Hoop Pine – so premium material. You’re just not going to get that in lights that belong to massive batch orders,” he said.