Lighting Inspired by a Ruff and a Dog

General / People / Places / Products / September 9, 2013

Jacco Maris is a lighting designer whose newest suspension fixtures were introduced by Global Lighting in August. One was inspired by the ruff collar of the Elizabethan Age, and the other by Solo, his dog. “The light is in homage to his indefatigable spirit,” he says. A paw print inside each light bears silent witness to Solo. A + A recently interviewed the designer by email:

Your background in design?
I trained to become a designer and draughtsman in Utrecht and subsequently studied industrial design in Eindhoven. At the start of my career, I was primarily engaged in creating décors and window displays. When one of my clients wanted an unusual but graceful lamp for his business premises, I decided to give shape to his ideas. I went to a breaker’s yard and bought a brass strip of some meters in length. In terms of the shop layout as a whole, that lamp was an afterthought. In one way, that was a pity, but on the other hand it stimulates you to be highly creative with very few resources. The result was a really beautiful light fitting. I continued in that vein, and it gave rise to an entire collection.

Influences upon your work?
Tough question. That may vary by day, my mood and also what I want to achieve. There are so many things that influence me. A lot of inspiration can be found in nature, which asks to be translated. Great architecture and art also inspire me. Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright are two names that come up and in art. I love as well the skills and high quality of the 17th century paintings as well as the Modernistic (like Mondrian) and the Avant Garde artists you can find in music, like John Coltrane.

The intent of your designs?

Having the right light in the right place is a crucial factor in interior design. Attractive lighting gives a room a distinctive atmosphere, creates subtle accents and shows exceptional pieces of furniture to their maximum advantage. My light features actually add something more. Thanks to their unusual design – whether suspended from the ceiling or walls, or standing on the floor or on a table – they endow a room’s furnishings with additional allure and actually become a focal point. They are often thought of as illuminated sculpture.

The inspiration?

I determine a kind of starting point/framework, to which I want to start to work. If someone says, “make a nice lamp for me” I don’t know where to start. I have to limit myself by saying: the lamp must be made from one piece of plate using up to 2 treatments and 1 color addition, must be energy-saving (efficient) and should not cost more than X amount and can only exist as round shapes. The challenge is there and the solution/inspiration will come by itself.

The challenges?

There wasn’t a specific moment I thought I wanted to be a designer. I have always loved great design and architecture but only found out I was a designer later when people showed real interest in the creations coming out of my brain and hands.

What kinds of materials do you favor?

Steel, the pure quality of the material makes it easy to work with; to bend, fold, weld and pour. The material gives a chance to redo your first intensions and the choices made are never inevitable but can be changed in a second. This allows for great spontaneity when designing. Also that the metal is easy to recycle has a high priority here. Don’t get me wrong – we love for our designs to last. Otherwise: what’s the point?  However all of our scraps go to recycling.

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Michael Welton




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