Posted in People, Products on 12 June, 2017

Tonje Odegard of SPACE had a chat with Jeremy Quantrill, Managing Director of D&H to get an INSIGHT into lighting…

Dernier & Hamlyn is a leading international lighting company, and one of the most established in the UK. Although the company offers high-quality designs, this doesn’t have to leave specifiers out of pocket. Jeremy Quantrill, Managing Director of D&H, explains how one can be practical and economical and still end up with the best results…

Is it a misconception that one has to fork out large amounts in order to achieve good-quality and brilliantly designed lighting solutions?

Clearly quality and brilliant design cost money. We work with our clients to devise appropriate and innovative bespoke lighting solutions that meet their budgetary constraints without straying too far from the original design intent.

What options are there for bespoke lighting to make it more economically practical without compromising on looks and longevity?

There are too many to be able to describe them all but most of them come under the categories of materials, technology and labour.

Take, for example, a design which calls for bronze. At the very highest end, we would take a piece of solid brass then cast or turn it. Then we would achieve the bronze finish by hand and wax it resulting in a luxurious depth of finish. But if the budget does not allow for this, we could look at chemically treating the metalwork, reducing the labour involved and thus also the cost. Although this would produce a flatter finish than hand-crafting provides, it sometimes is good enough for a fitting that is hanging from a ceiling away from close scrutiny. Further still we can look at making fittings in steel and then applying a bronze paint finish.

Decorative light fitting can be used for multiple purposes, which again has the potential to cut costs. All hotels need emergency lighting, but this can not only detract from aesthetics but is also another cost. We have frequently almost invisibly integrated emergency lighting into beautiful chandeliers reducing expenditure and increasing visual appeal.

Specification of technology is key to managing cost for the lighting’s lifecycle. Sometimes lighting designers come to us with systems that are overly complicated and use lamping or other elements that are only available from one supplier. This means that they can be costly for the client to maintain and if it breaks down in the future may be impossible to repair if the supplier no longer provides it. So, it’s important to think about building in longevity too.

Is it another misconception that bespoke design and bespoke lighting is more expensive?

Bespoke can be more expensive than off-the-shelf, but it certainly doesn’t have to be – especially where there is a large number of fittings to be made. Economies of scale come into play in, say, bedroom lighting, where there are very often tens or even hundreds of pendants or floor or table lamps to be produced. It’s important to think about the priorities and translating them appropriately into the lighting. Many hotels have statement lighting in their receptions and primary public areas, which go way beyond being a source of illumination and are effectively works of art.

What are the benefits, financial or design-wise, of bespoke lighting?

The main benefit is that it can be whatever you want it to be. We’ve made lighting from all sorts of materials including a chandelier for a hotel restaurant that was made from balloon whisks.

Our team loves it when designers give them a challenge and the results are spectacular. At Scarfe’s Bar in central London, the designers wanted 2m high globe chandeliers that looked as if they were made from metal weathered by the British climate. While brass and steel were considered, they would have resulted in chandeliers that were much too heavy for the ceiling. Producing them in aluminium means they are much lighter and less expensive. Hand finishing by our uniquely skilled team ensured the chandeliers met the brief and are stunningly attractive and practical too.

Stretching creative muscles doesn’t mean that designers have to blow the budget. We work with some who have fully formed ideas and are absolutely wedded to what they want and what it should be made from, dimensions, or lamping specifications. More often though we work in partnership to help work through designers’ requirements and how they can be balanced with the practical, artistic and financial requirements using the skills and experience built up over many years by our design, engineering and production specialists.

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