Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Age: The studio is coming up to 17 years old—almost out of adolescence and into adulthood.
Occupation: Lighting designer.
Hometown: Stuttgart, Germany, is the birthplace of director Volker Haug. Since establishing himself in Melbourne, Volker collected this creative, international family around him. Our studio is made up of people from Singapore, the Canary Islands, Casablanca, Tokyo, and Buckinghamshire as well as the far reaches of outback Australia.
Studio location: Melbourne.
Describe what you make: We design and make lighting that has a sense of discovery and experimentation, with a focus on pared-back, immaculate designs imbued with a sense of playful elegance and individuality.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: The Side Kick pendant, which laid the foundations for the Step & Kick series, is a classically simple design that has led us down a path of refining materials and an emphasis on detail. We produce a new series every year, so to take a breath and just look back on such a varied body of work is a proud, but short-lived moment before we start seeking out the next thing!
Describe the problem your work solves: We make everything by hand to develop a connection between the material and the maker. This allows for flexibility in how others interpret our lighting since the finish, scale, and configuration can all be adapted to suit each space. Because of this process, our designs each have their own unique personality imparted by the hand of the person who made it. We hope the joy we find in our work shows through in our designs.
Describe the project you are working on now: We currently have a project on view in New York by appointment only, our first showing of lighting in the American market. It’s a showhouse of design curated by Colony, who’s based in Manhattan, and we have six lighting designs featured including a new product debuting from the Anton family. It’s been such a treat to show our lighting to the trade there. (Designers: reach out! We want to walk you through!)
We’re also busily working on a new series to be released later this year that continues our focus on material investigations. Plus a new collaboration with an artist in the cards.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: In conjunction with the National Gallery of Victoria’s annual Melbourne Design Week in March, this year we’ve brought together a collection of designers from Oliver du Puy Architect; Ritz & Ghougassian; Studio HiHo; Marsha Golemac; ACV Studio; Freadman White, Bates Smart, and our own studio for a multidisciplinary exhibition called “After Hours,” which will explore the work we do when we’re not “at work”—the furniture designed by artists, the art made by architects, and the lights made by interior designers.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Humans! Especially after spending most of the past 12 months working from home. We’re a really collaborative studio with ideas that move and change—the people in our team provide both the momentum and the energy for the designs we make. This is a big part of our ethos and culture… hence our collective answers!
And dogs. Bunyip the bulldog, Esher & Bunny the greyhounds, and the newest edition, a seven-week-old blue merle sheepdog called Ralph.
…and Sonos! There are two (or more) in every room, all playing something different—from German punk, to the classical piano of Ludovico Einaudi, to soundtracks from Japanese anime to Kesha.
What you do when you’re not working: Dream of designing carpets! At the moment it’s summer in Australia, so we’ve been enjoying food, wine, and company, followed by much-needed exercise at the beach, the Dandenong ranges, and picnics in the park while the weather holds. We also love trashy reality TV and if not at our desks and workshop, we can be found watching reruns of Kath and Kim and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Sashay awaaay!
Sources of creative envy: Ingo Maurer, Angela de la Cruz, Carlo Mollino, Australian furniture design Khai Liew, and the manmade environment in general.
The distraction you want to eliminate: The Puppy teething stage, when the Sonos breaks down, bowls of discarded pistachio shells, constant renovation noise (currently redoing our shop… more on that soon), cutlery and crockery sets that don’t match, and unreliable wifi.
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Vaguely remembering forgetting something…
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts—talking to old friends.
Dark or light? Darkness needs light.