ISSUE 4 – Lighting
- Buster + Punch
- The lighting design process in 5 steps
- “In the cloud”, a light sculpture
- London new Design Museum
- Portrait of…
Buster + Punch
Massimo Buster Minale is a London architect and industrial designer with a passion for metalwork, motorcycles and music. Following a career at Foster & Partners, he launched Buster + Punch in 2013 and subsequently carved out a reputation with his precision-cut lighting and beautifully crafted hardware.
The luxurious simplicity of the electric products as well as the quality and design of the hardware was brought to our attention by Rocio Lereah, our architectural and interior designer. What first caught her eye, when she saw the company on a blog, was the use of rare materials and the quality of the finish. As she constantly reminds us, well-designed hardware lifts the aesthetic quality of any bespoke joinery, and it is these small details that bring the whole scheme together and makes it unique.
The ‘Electricity’ range is an assortment of solid metal light switches & dimmer with diamond-cut knurled knob, designed “to feel amazing with every touch”. The switches & dimmers are flat plate and finished with their signature solid penny buttons – which can only be opened by using a British 1p coin. There is a choice of over 40 different combinations of metal finishes to suit any wall colour, from brass, matt white to satin black.
For more information about Buster + Punch and to discover the rest of their lighting and hardware range, visit busterandpunch.com/shop
From September, John Lewis customers can exclusively purchase the Buster + Punch Hooked pendant lighting collection with copper metal detailing. Two further light options will also be available in smoked bronze.
The lighting design process in 5 steps
Capture the natural light
The focus of the new layout of this basement refurbishment in West London was to make better use of the natural light. Before the work took place the kitchen worktops were situated against the wall backing onto the garden, and the only natural light came through two small windows above the units. The new design moved the units to the side wall and created access to the garden, letting light and air flood in through a glass door and large windows.
Identify the architectural features, limitations and opportunities
As the ceilings in that space were very low, we took advantage of the extensive waterproofing works to lower the floor at the same time. This added height allowed us to use several spotlights to create a warm ambience: downlighting is much more effective in rooms with higher ceilings. The light could then bounce off the pale but warm paint on the walls and splash-back, as well as the glass sliding door.
Try ‘layering’ your lighting
When starting a new project, I like to imagine the lighting in layers. Think about efficiency: how much light will be needed; how to control it; how many circuits will be necessary. The layers not only answer the practical needs of task, decorative or safety light requirements, but also makes the whole scheme much more interesting.
For this kitchen, we used several different types of light — recessed spotlights, pendants, wall lights, LED strips — grouped in different circuits to highlight materials and textures, creating depth and contrast. And of course, dimmer switches allow you to adjust the lighting throughout the day.
Consider LEDs/low energy fittings versus decorative lights
The UK Building Regulations were amended in 2013. The new requirements specify that for new or to be refurbished buildings, at least 75% of fittings must be low energy. This still allows to mix low energy fittings (usually done by replacing existing lighting for LED spotlights) with more decorative and interesting options to give the rooms more personality and a richer scheme.
Although the lighting companies are filling the market with a huge variety of low energy options every day, that 25% can still be used for example when installing antique or vintage fittings.
Halogen bulbs were used in this project on the Gubi Grossman Grasshoppa pendant light and the wall lights designed by Charlotte Perriand.
Choose your colour temperature
Depending on how the natural light interacts with the room, we can choose to use cold or warm lighting. The paint scheme will also have an impact in this decision.
All lightbulbs have a ‘colour temperature’: the higher the temperature, the cooler and bluer it will shine; a low temperature will give a much warmer and cosier light. For this project warm light bulbs working together with the pale greys and off whites were the best option to complement the lack of direct sunlight during the day. Extra warm lights are ideal for living rooms, lounges, and bedrooms as they give a relaxing, homely ambiance.
Cool lights appear brighter and clearer and are often used in bathrooms and kitchens, as well as in commercial projects. Sometimes this can make a room feel cold and clinical, but when used well they can be the best option to light a painting or a particular feature.
“In the cloud”, a light sculpture
Belle-île is an island off the coast of Brittany, best known for its water-sports, seafood, and its glorious coastline, which has inspired Monet and Matisse. More recently, it has become home to a group of four friends (Fabien Barbeau, Alan Le Chenadec, Mathieu Blin and Julien Froger) who have set up a glass blowing company, Fluïd Coop. Since 2008 they have worked with restaurateurs, galleries and private clients, sometimes collaborating with designer Philippe Daney.
We talk to Fabien Barbeau about their recent project for one of our clients, called ‘in the cloud’
How was the idea of Fluid born?
In 2008, there were four of us, all glass-blowers, who had known each other for ten years. We decided to join forces and set up a business, aspiring to a certain creative freedom. The idea was to share our strengths and pool our resources, making a cooperative. This makes us quite different from other glass blowing workshops and makes us push ourselves further.
How did you meet the clients?
They first came to our workshop in Belle-île. Very quickly they realised that we would be able to create a bespoke piece for them. We were very proud that they thought our shop ‘the best shop on the island’. From that moment, a trusting relationship began to form.
Did you have to follow a strict brief or did you have “carte blanche”?
Both! Philippe, the designer of the piece, benefited from a great freedom of expression. We started with some key words: space, light, and a selection of 6 colours from our colour swatches. However the timing required was very short (3 months) and we really had to push our limits.
How did you conceive the design and colours for ‘In The Cloud’?
We received little specification from the clients but their ideas were very precise. Philippe Daney, a great dreamer and a passionate man, transformed their words into a bold, balanced proposition. It was an amazing challenge for our team, but we knew it would be a great success.
What were the challenges of creating and installing the piece?
It takes years for a glass blower to master the techniques, especially to create shapes that are symmetrical on both sides of the axis, like a woodturner. The shapes designed by Philippe Daney for ‘In the Cloud’ were asymmetrical so we had to un-learn, and make mistakes… And the more mistakes there were, the happier Philippe was!
What did you enjoy the most in the creation of ‘in the cloud’? What is your most memorable time?
When your clients are the driving force, when the designer loves the idea, and the whole team is motivated, then everything becomes enjoyable. But the most memorable time was probably when we actually installed the piece. It was the cherry on the cake, the reward of our work.
How long did it take from the conception to the installation?
We had to deliver the piece within three months. We needed two months of intense work to blow the glass pieces. Installing the work took a week on site.
How many people worked on the project? Can you tell us a little bit more about their roles?
The clients were with us throughout the process. It was important for us to get their approval for each step.
Philippe had a good knowledge of the space and his professionalism was decisive. His presence was very reassuring, and he brought us many technical solutions. This meant the glass blowers at Fluïd could use their time to work on the ideas properly.
And finally what a pleasure to work with you, the Goodbody & Co. team! You provided us with the all-important technical analysis of how and where the piece will hang, and the help of your team on site was essential.
Not to forget all the specialised suppliers who we worked with: at least about 20 people were involved on this project.
Do you create a lot of piece of that size?
Not yet… But we are really looking forward to creating some more. Focusing on one piece over a long period of time and working as a team of various specialists gave a fascinating professional dimension to Fluïd.
What are your future projects?
We are working on a musical project with Philippe Daney. It is called Crisalis. The project is to blow and tune 36 large black glass ‘warheads’, making a giant percussion instrument. Eric Serra and Daniel Humair can’t wait to play on it!
For more information about Fluïd coop and to see their recent creations, visit their website
London’s new Design Museum
Before the first London Design Museum was opened, there was the V&A, books on William Morris or the Bauhaus but nothing on the history of Industrial Design and nowhere exhibiting mass production design.
Sir Terence Conran’s vision 30 years ago filled those gaps. He never wanted it to be called a museum though: it is thanks to its first director Stephen Bayley that Design entered the arena of respectable culture under its new name the London Design Museum.
For nearly 30 years, the Design collection was hosted at Shad Thames. Originally a building that had stored bananas and Korean military uniform, it was then turned into Bauhaus-on-Thames.
In 2006, its current director Deyan Sudjic, was recruited with a brief to move the museum to a larger space. After looking at various sites near King’s Cross and City Hall, Deyan Sudjic was approached by RBKC towards the end of 2007. They wanted to give new life to what was once known as the Commonwealth Institute building.
The Commonwealth Institute is considered by English Heritage as second only to the Royal Festival Hall in its significance to post-war architecture in London. It was opened in 1962 at a time where there was construction rationing and certain materials couldn’t be used.
Because of this, buildings of the ‘60s can deteriorate quickly. Before going forward the museum team had to make sure that they could optimize the space and use it not only for their permanent collection but also for temporary exhibitions, learning spaces, design workshops, a library, an auditorium, a museum shop, a café and a restaurant.
Designed by John Pawson, known for his rigorous and simple architecture, the Grade II listed fit-out has been completed by Willmott Dixon who have a long track-record restoring listed buildings into modern spaces fit for the 21st century.
After giving Zaha Hadid first solo show in Britain, and having established the careers and reputations of many now-famous names, such as Charles and Ray Eames or Dieter Rams, the new Design Museum has a long future ahead.
It will open with the exhibition Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World curated by Justin Mcguirk.
But as Deyan Sudjic says “Building a building is nothing by comparison with actually making it come alive.”
Let see what the public will make of it. If you want to know more or suggest your favourite objects visit their new website.
Penny Ledbury grew up in Chiswick, like her father and grandfather before her. She seems to know everyone in the neighbourhood and as we sit drinking coffee on a terrace near the shop she smiles and nods to various people passing by. When asked what she likes best about her job she replies without hesitation: ‘being part of a friendly community’. I can’t stop thinking about how different it all must have been 51 years ago when her grandfather Ken and her father Terry opened Teleonics in the same shop on the same street.
Ken, was an electrical engineer during the war: his job was to repair broken radars. Together with his son, Terry, he first opened the shop in 1965, repairing radios, TVs, and other appliances. It was given its current name Chiswick Lighting in the 1990s. Terry was just 16 years old when the shop opened but already had a passion for his trade. He has a wealth of knowledge about lighting and always keeps up to date with what’s new in the business.
Penny joined the family business during her gap year. She went on to study psychology, but when her grandfather passed away she and her older brother, Alan, both decided to come back to the shop and work with their father.
Her strength is designing new lighting layouts and solutions for her clients. Her brother is very ‘hands-on’ and works in the workshop with Terry, doing repairs and making new fittings. She describes her relationship with her dad as a friendly and complimentary one and wouldn’t have it any other way. Will her daughter join the family business? It is too early to tell – she’s only just turned 5! But while Penny insists she would never impose the job on her, she already loves spending time with Terry in his workshop.
It is hard to say what the next Big Thing in lighting will be. LEDs are becoming more and more important both for the company and their clients: in fact, they specialise in bespoke LED lighting systems. There are new developments in this field every week and they are really interested in the future of these lights.
Penny has several ideas as to how to expand the shop in the next few years. Recently, the repair and design branches of the company have seen good growth and they count among their clients The Old Cinema (an antiques ‘department store’ in Chiswick), the Google temporary offices in Victoria, a number of property developers as well as residential clients. She hopes to continue expanding these design projects, as it is a part of her job she really loves.
One thing is for sure: the Ledbury family’s knowledge and expertise will always be much in demand.