With the world facing unprecedented challenges, this period also offered a moment of reflection for William Brand, the founder of the atelier Brand van Egmond. His vision on the importance of lighting in spaces as well as his creations helped change the global perception of lighting design and interior architecture since his start in 1989.
Given the many bespoke projects where he is personally involved, William – who graduated from the School of Arts – gets both a bird’s eye view on ventures currently taking place across the globe, as well as an intimate invitation to see what is really happening behind the curtains of rhetoric. You will find some of the residue of these experiences below.
You can consider this conversation with William Brand as an open invitation to you to continue to reflect on these topics – from sustainability till trends and the strength of heritage till the future of our industry – together with him.
1. What new developments are you seeing?
I see with our clients a powerful movement towards a much more personal approach towards their interior, and less enthusiasm to move according to the taste of the masses. I see this reflected in a stronger demand than ever before for commissioned lighting sculptures; created especially for a client.
It seems that clients are asking themselves more than ever before what they appreciate in terms of beauty and what reflects their personality, rather than be inclined to follow a prescribed standard of others.
This is our clientele: independent thinkers. They have often become successful in their own lives because they did not crave to be part of the masses and were not afraid to stand out. Whether this is in business, the arts or sports: their independence led them towards excelling.
We also hear – partly through the architects we work within 90 countries – that clients no longer request quality, but are actually demanding it. These recent times seem to have forced a rethink, and a renewed appreciation for taking time to create a truly lasting object of desire. Having spent the last months many more hours in their homes than before, let to the reappraisal of this space and the time spend it with their most loved ones.
I see this is going to be longer-lasting: it is not just the appreciation for honest handwork but the whole culture behind time-honoured production techniques.
The future for me is here, and clear. It is less factory and more atelier. More patience for honest handwork, less ‘just in time’. Less trend focussed and more lasting. More thoughtful and less conspicuous. And, definitely, less mass-produced and more boutique.
2. Are you finding new forms of expression through your work?
Besides this increased request for commissioned work, I also see that people are drawn more towards what I call honest materials and production techniques. No mass-produced plastic items that last for one simple trend, but handcrafted steel and mouth-blown glass to last for generations.
In line with this development we, for example, have started to offer even more finishes like nickel aged (to give a slightly older look) and brass burnished. These finishes offer the possibility of adding even more character to a space.
A characterful statement through subtility, this is where good and beautiful overlap.
I personally do not consider myself part of any trend, nor do I have any wish to be so.
I never followed a trend, in fact am averse to it. My work should never be ‘more of the same’; I find no challenge nor pride in this. I wish to surprise and create what has not been seen before. That is perhaps the artist in me: to set a trend rather than to follow it.
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Brand van Egmond Showroom
SFDC Galleria Showroom 400
101 Henry Adams Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
By Azari Designs