The tendency towards products from the region and from the region has increased in recent years, much to the benefit (and delight) of craftsmen and small businesses. This is a particularly important change for those who have long been committed to producing their work on site, such as lighting designer Bec Brittain. Before opening her own studio in Brooklyn, Brittain was Design Director for another lighting trailblazer: Lindsey Adelman Studio. Since then, Brittain, who started designing bespoke door fittings, has made a name for herself with her signature SHY Light. Each new piece was designed by Brittain and made in New York by local processors and artisans.
What made you decide to start your company?
I’ve worked for small businesses for many years, which gave me a great opportunity to learn and be inspired by the drive and vision of other entrepreneurs. Through these experiences, I realized how much I enjoyed working in lighting and how much I wanted to express my own ideas. So I took the plunge and started my own studio.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I definitely don’t have a favorite – they’re all like different moods of mine that make up my fuller personality. Just when I reply to that, I particularly like Seed. I think it’s such a nice combination of angular geometry, asymmetrical irregularity, and jewel-like softness.
What’s the best thing about your job?
That I can decide what my job is – I choose what the studio focuses on and what our priorities are, and keep myself inspired and excited about new directions and projects.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
In a way, it’s the other side of the same coin – sometimes pressure to make big decisions about the direction of business can be challenging.
What inspires you creatively?
Inspiration is difficult for me to grasp; it comes through osmosis and something bubbles out. What inspires me creatively is the moment an idea has gushed out, to be able to take up a new, vague idea and slowly shape it into something real. The moment a new component is seen – that was just a few weeks before a pencil sketch – is always so stimulating.
What are some common mistakes people make with lighting?
As new, energy-efficient lighting is becoming increasingly popular, it has become particularly important to pay attention to different light temperatures. If you happen to mix a cool light temperature with a warmer one, it can cause restlessness.
Do you have any tips on updating a room with lighting?
I think good lighting has so much to do with the specific combination of light sources and positions. Each new piece that is brought into a room may involve mixing other existing pieces as well. So buy what you love and what makes you happy, then respond to it with your existing floor and table lamps, etc.
Penta-Hex bottle opener