Designing always starts for me with a beautiful shape. I have always admired the lines of a butterfly and in particular the fluttering of its wings. Thinking about that is where the design for the Butterfly Light came from and, of course, realising that the steam bending process could create these lovely curved shapes.
From there I can spend weeks sketching a shape and testing the idea – then slowly the form of the light grows from the process. I think about the shadows the light will cast around it as well as the form itself.
As soon as I find a shape I’ve drawn that’s working I’ll use strips of aluminium and card and then move to the wood only once I have a pretty good idea that the form will work. I’ll hold a bulb inside it at all stages to see how the shapes react with the light and ensure the shadows are working. This is where the process of trial and error really come into play and the modelling stage is crucial for getting the 3D form – you can’t do that from sketches alone.
Next it’s about creating the tooling to bend the wood and this can change the design slightly because of the realms of what is physically possible. At this stage it becomes about finding an efficient way of making the product whilst ensuring the aesthetic isn’t compromised.
And from all of this eventually comes a new design and a new light for our collection.