Haberdashery was started by the three original directors in 2008: Mac Cox, Ben Rigby and Daniel Siden. They shared a collective vision of creating experiences through light. Their diverse backgrounds of photography and interaction design, product design, industrial design and film art direction gave this trio a unique approach to using light within an object or a space. Since then, Haberdashery have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the world’s leading architects, interior designers, developers, brands and institutions; the practice have installed 250+ projects in over 30 countries globally.

MiCasa had the chance to chat with co-director, Ben Rigby, for a behind the scenes look at one of the UK’s most innovation lighting design practices and an insight into all the challenges and adventures of designing with light.

 

Tempete, commissioned by  Home House

Tempete, commissioned by Home House

What drew you to working with light?

Ben: We trained in various design and lighting areas, and realised we were particularly interested in how the viewer responds to light; and the ability of light to initiate an emotional response to a carefully controlled narrative within the design. This common interest led to the foundation of Haberdashery.

What are you working on at the moment?

BR: We are a very diverse company; we are currently developing a range of lighting products exploring the theatrical possibilities of light, shadow and colour, a range of large scale landmark sculptures for major architectural projects in London, Las Vegas and the UAE, and also a media delivery device called Lightvert; the world’s largest media display. In addition to this we are also working on our collection of artworks and of course a large number of bespoke lighting projects for interior designers and architects.

Lightvert

Lightvert

Do you consider yourself an artist, designer, sculptor or lighting engineer?

BR: We have all four of the above working within our company; we are currently 23 people strong, with a network of UK manufacturers and artisans we manage across a wide variety of projects in different mediums and involving various types of lighting and control technologies.

 It is in these periods of discovery that we often make mistakes or find surprising answers to questions. Often it is in the unknown that we find the answer; the unpredictable nature of light is there to be manipulated and tamed, to be worked into intelligent solutions through innovation for bold clients willing to allow Haberdashery to say ‘what if?’

 

U13 U14 at the Old Brewry Truman Street

U13 U14 at the Old Brewry Truman Street

Light is perhaps the most abstract and unpredictable medium to work with, does it ever do something you’re not expecting, or create a different ambiance to what was planned?

BR: All the time!  Our company is based upon a tried and tested process that allows for intense periods of experimentation and play.  It is in these periods of discovery that we often make mistakes or find surprising answers to questions. Often it is in the unknown that we find the answer; the unpredictable nature of light is there to be manipulated and tamed, to be worked into intelligent solutions through innovation for bold clients willing to allow Haberdashery to say ‘what if?’

Oroshi at the Play of Brilliants

Oroshi at the Play of Brilliants

Every project is so different, where do your ideas come from?

BR: A combination of inspiration from the client, the location, the material palette and understanding our end user.  Haberdashery follow an interactive design process that uncovers a creative solution on a case by case basis. Inspiration can come from anywhere; it is the idea that is king, not who came up with it.

Frequency

Frequency

You’ve built up a reputation for creating experimental and unique designs – do most clients give you free reign to be creative?

BR: If we can get involved early on in a project we are more likely to be able to flex our creative muscle.  As our reputation grows we are more regularly trusted with the brief, and are often invited in to help develop the brief in the first place. Our job is to increase the scope of a project and align stakeholder interests. By doing this we can deliver value and push the creative boundaries.

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Crysalis for Soho-based charity 'The House of St Barnabas'

Crysalis for Soho-based charity ‘The House of St Barnabas’

Are there any particular artists or designers that inspired Haberdashery’s directions?

BR: We are all inspired by a range of influences that life throws at you, but steer clear of studying other people’s work too closely as it can cloud your own creativity.

Lighting designer James Turrell has always resonated with our designers; his work is simple yet intelligent, universal and timeless, just like light itself.

What’s the most exciting project to have been a part of?

BR: Any project where there are a variety of people to collaborate with can make for a more interesting process and end result.

We are involved in a ground-breaking project with developers British Land, interior designers Martin Kemp Design and architects Squire and Partners in Mayfair currently; the sculpture we are working on will be a true landmark in the area when completed.

Pestival at Royal Festival Hall

Pestival at Royal Festival Hall

pestival1

Pestival

If you could light up any building or place in the world, where would it be?

BR: We would love to redesign the Hong Kong skyline lighting; it would be wonderful to curate the skyline as a single entity in order to create something sublime.

Haberdashery are currently developing a patented design called ‘Lightvert’ which is the world’s largest media display; it has the ability to transform skylines with 200m high persistence of vision effects.

Do you have coloured or white lights on your Christmas tree?

BR: Ha ha! Mine is covered with decorations made by my kids and some simple white lights hidden at the back out of their reach ; )

leaf-min

Leaf at Design Junction – formed of 800 – 1000 bone china, 14 Karat gold suspended leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

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