Kit Kemp is a powerhouse of design ideas. Her day job may be as creative director of Firmdale Hotels, overseeing the look and style of the 10 hotels, but her vision extends well beyond the oversized headboards she is famous for. The pendant light she has designed for Porta Romana is a case in point: a modern ovular shape elevated by the quirky edition of a bird perching on the arm. It’s this sense of fun and abandonment that has seen so many other brands lining up to work with her. Kit tackles each project by thinking about its individual needs, often turning to her favourite lighting designers who each in turn, offer something exciting and innovative.
After graduating from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Niamh Barry set up her design practice in the city. Using a combination of ancient bronze metalwork techniques, alongside technology such as LEDs to ‘draw’ with light, Niamh creates unique light sculptures for both private and public projects, such as Vessel Scape, a 10m-long sculpture at Dublin’s Central Bank of Ireland. Her work explores the fluidity of human form as well as patterns created by nature; Ireland’s landscape is a huge inspirations. Kit Kemp, who first spotted her work suspended over a staircase in New York, says, ‘I thought it was absolutely wonderful.’ Niamh is currently working on a series of small-scale pieces to be launched in later in the year.
See more of Niamh’s work at niamhbarry.com
It was while selling antiques at Portobello Market that Tyson Bennison spotted a gap in the market for unique lighting. He began creating his own designs, from pendants to table lamps, with the idea of offering something different for each customer. Kit Kemp says, ‘If we ever want something unusual for our projects I often talk to Tyson.’ He now has a team of glass-blowers, metal fabricators and paint finishers working collectively at his London-based workshop. Stocking a mixture of antique and custom pieces, Tyson offers over 1,000 pairs of table lamps at any one time. He and his team are currently working on a new lighting collection inspired by mid-century ceramicists, but using glass to add their own twsit.
See more of Tyson’s work at tyson.london
GARETH DEVONALD SMITH
Having started out working for interior designer Mary Fox Linton, Gareth Devonald Smith went on to work as an artist, eventually gravitating towards sculpture and metalwork. His lighting work is directly influenced by his own experience as a sculptor, using a number of materials and techniques, such as plaster, fibreglass, bronze casting, steelwork and laser-jet cutting. Kit Kemp says ‘Gareth is very sculptural in the way he approaches his designs; they look very cubist.’ Over the past 10 years, Gareth has work with British lighting brand Porta Romana and has created a piece for the home of tennis player Maria Sharapova. He is currently designing for a Paris-based gallery for an exhibition at the end of 2020.
See more of Gareth’s work at garethdevonaldsmith.co.uk