Voting is still live for the inaugural Image Interiors & Living Design Awards and is closing on Wednesday the 19th of October. Need a little more information? All the nominees are introduced here and, in the final part of the series, here’s a look closer at the Best Lighting nominees…
Meet Shane Holland
Shane Holland, of Shane Holland Design, creates bespoke furniture, sculptures and lighting. He says that from a young age he became interested in object and showed an interest in visuals to go with his skills of making. “Wanting to fix things you’re not happy with is always a good clue into being a designer.” Shane explains that often a piece of material can spark an idea, “It is about looking and seeing the value in a concrete block, or a piece of rubbish.”
Wilde Cage Range
When approaching designs Shane uses a drawing board and a pen. He makes a lot of prototypes and models in the workshop rather than on a computer. He explains that with prototypes there can be a lot of tweaking. “Sometimes it takes a number of years for us to get a project that we’re really happy with.” When designing lighting the tone is important, Shane speaks of the avoidance of glare and harshness when designing. “You’re thinking about lighting bouncing off surfaces, diffusing lighting at the design stage.” Aesthetic and function have to coincide when designing lighting.
Big Bang II
Shane Holland Design was one of the first Irish brands to go to Milan Design Week and the people that he met there were not yet informed of what was going on in Irish design. “Irish design has come a long way in recent years and people are starting to appreciate it, for its link to craft.” Living on the coast is a constant source of inspiration and a lot of the designs are named after waves of the sea.
Mike Treanor, of Mullan Lighting Design has always been interested in design and working with his hands. Growing up his hobbies included crafting wood and he worked in the area of architecture for four years before setting up Mullan Lighting Design in 2008. He feels that Irish people are appreciative of Irish design and the fact that a product such as lighting is being manufactured here and creating jobs in Ireland.
Mike grew up with a love of working with wood but explains that when he began designing lighting products, he discovered himself working with metals more, brass in particular as, “it’s malleability and can take various patinas to give beautiful finishes”. Mike loves exploring new materials and says that more of a variation in materials will feature in future designs. Through travelling, he finds inspiration and he will take pictures of sights that capture his attention.”A combination of small pieces of inspiration, that often are very vague, can play a part in one single design. The form, the texture and the function could come about from many different sources of inspiration.”
Irish craftsmen and women influence him continuously. “From local furniture manufacturers, potters, stone workers and blacksmiths, the work that these people do inspires me and others that it’s possible to have a career in design and craft-work to this day.” He finds that by working directly with manufacturers style is ever evolving within Mullan Lighting Design. “We do our best to try and give our customers exactly what they want and therefore as designers, we develop new styles and ranges to meet their needs”.
Vox flush ceiling light
Meet Donna Bates
Donna Bates grew up on a farm, which provided plenty of space and materials to explore. Her rural upbringing is a strong influence in her design of the Parlour Lights, which are based on glass vats found in a milking parlour. Donna cites that by having lots of room to play as a child, she got to discover her interest of how and why things are brought together. After completing studies in engineering she moved into a new field of 3D design. Donna believes wood is the best material to work with but explains, “As with the Parlour Lights, sometimes the story leads me to somewhere I am not experienced in.”
As a designer she feels that once she can establish the process then progress is made. “This is part of the draw for me, to not being limited to what you know yourself, inviting new relationships and literally new journeys – Croatia, Denmark, and more locally, Carlingford – to name a few!” From her travels, she feels that Irish design being perceived abroad as confident, honest and rich in heritage. Donna feels that by having a close relationship with retailers, interior designers and architects is also of great importance as a designer.
When designing, Donna explores the skills and materials presented and from there makes a connection and finds out what is possible. “One piece usually leads to the next.” She speaks of good design, as being a design that functions efficiency, is sustainable in terms of time and wear and tear. “More recently I have also come to realise the importance of my work having emotional resonance.”
Meet Niamh Barry
Niamh Barry, specialised in ceramics while in college but, upon graduating she immediately started working with metal. A favourite material of Niamh’s, she has been working almost exclusively with it, particularly bronze, to make her sculptural designs. With a career spanning 25 years so far, Niamh explains her work as being a place that is, “somewhere between design and art. It is not purely design for design sake.”
When approaching her designs, Niamh starts by looking at a space and how people interact within the space. When creating a piece that includes illumination, there is an additional layer of technicalities that need addressing. “There is a technical aspect of working with light and as the pieces are suspended there is engineering involved in that. They are site specific, in terms of scale, dynamic, form and finishes.”
Niamh is in a fortunate position of having a total freedom in her work and, produces work that is ultimately driven by her own desire and aesthetic. She explains that it has taken a long time to get to this place and she has worked extremely hard to be able to do so. The work she is making now, is of interest to her and her own brief while still, “allowing the pieces to fit into the space where people want to place them.”
To vote for your favourite nominee in each category, click here.