CRAFT­ING BRIL­LIANCE

VAN­COU­VER-BASED LIGHT­ING DE­SIGNER MATTHEW MC­CORMICK, WHO WAS IN DUBAI AS PART OF A STEL­LAR LINE-UP OF SPEAK­ERS DUR­ING DOWN­TOWN DE­SIGN, IN AN EX­CLU­SIVE IN­TER­VIEW WITH PRATYUSHSARUP, HEAD OF PRO­GRAM­MING AT THE FAIR

Commercial Interior Design - - Event Review -

Af­ter work­ing in many fields, how did you even­tu­ally set­tle on a ca­reer in prod­uct de­sign, and specif­i­cally, light­ing de­sign?

I started my ca­reer as a graphic de­signer, but af­ter a while couldn’t tol­er­ate be­ing on a com­puter all day. I wanted to take that graphic cre­ativ­ity and ap­ply it with my own two hands, us­ing new tools and ma­te­ri­als, but specif­i­cally with re­gard to light­ing (a long-time ob­ses­sion for me). While I never ex­pected to do it as a full-time job, I made a con­scious de­ci­sion to fol­low the op­por­tu­ni­ties that con­tin­ued to present them­selves.

It was ac­tu­ally a chance en­counter with a ran­dom din­ner guest that was likely my launch­ing point into light­ing as a ca­reer; he saw one of my first cre­ations hang­ing in my home – a sim­ple, an­gu­lar and branch-like fix­ture – and he pro­ceeded to bring me into a com­mis­sion for a lo­cal restau­rant. In con­junc­tion with some elec­tri­cal con­tract­ing work I did on the side, one thing led to an­other, and I quickly be­came well-versed in a brand new field, where I could ap­ply my cre­ativ­ity in a way I felt the most ful­filled.

What drew you to ex­plore ar­ti­sanal mak­ing?

When I think of ar­ti­san­ship, I think of things, such as at­ten­tion to de­tail and find­ing the best ‘in­gre­di­ents’ for what­ever you are mak­ing. It’s about dig­ging into the artis­tic merit of your craft, and cre­at­ing with reck­less aban­don to come up with some­thing spe­cial.

For me, an ar­ti­sanal de­sign prac­tice means I am in­vest­ing in re­fine­ment. Whether it is through re­lent­lessly try­ing to find the best in ma­te­rial, wiring, light sources or even part­ners in my craft; every it­er­a­tion of my fix­tures brings a more unique prod­uct that can stand the test of time (and also stand out in the mar­ket­place). The key is to never con­form to the stereo­type.

How do you marry tra­di­tion with tech­nol­ogy in your work?

We be­lieve that tra­di­tion and tech­nol­ogy will al­ways work hand-in-hand; you can’t nec­es­sar­ily have one with­out the other. We use the tra­di­tion of hands-on crafts­man­ship — be it metal fin­ish­ing, blow­ing glass or de­tailed wood tech­niques — and marry it with state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy such as CNC ma­chines and laser-cut­ting for pre­ci­sion, us­ing SolidWorks for im­pec­ca­ble ac­cu­racy in our mod­el­ling, or in­cor­po­rat­ing the new­est in light tech­nol­ogy, such as LED.

We’re lucky that the tech­nol­ogy avail­able to­day is el­e­vat­ing the im­pact of our craft. We're com­bin­ing the tra­di­tion of mak­ing beau­ti­ful ob­jects with the power of new tech­nol­ogy, thus mak­ing our fi­nal prod­ucts bet­ter than the world has ever seen be­fore. It’s an ex­cit­ing jour­ney.

You have a di­rec­tional feel to your works

— pure and sim­pli­fied form and re­fined ma­te­ri­al­ity. Please tell us more about your cre­ative jour­ney and how did you es­tab­lish your vis­ual iden­tity?

I think de­sign is it­er­a­tive and evo­lu­tion­ary, so I’m con­stantly sketch­ing and draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from every cor­ner of my life. It’s im­por­tant for me to see ev­ery­thing and stay cu­ri­ous.

As a trained graphic de­signer, my aim is to cre­ate hand-crafted light­ing that mar­ries a

graphic lan­guage with tech­ni­cal pre­ci­sion - usu­ally cen­tred on a clear, two-di­men­sional state­ment which can be coaxed into un­ex­pected con­texts.

My in­her­ent fo­cus is al­ways to dis­till an idea to its sim­plest form, where clean lines can still hide very com­pli­cated hard­ware. Every piece must go through a pre­cise con­struc­tion process, but the end re­sult is

el­e­gant and time­less.

What and who in­spires you as a de­signer and a per­son?

When it comes to my big­gest in­spi­ra­tion in why I pur­sued a ca­reer in light­ing, I al­ways ref­er­ence the time when I stum­bled across one of Ingo Mau­rer’s lights for the first time. It was the Moz­zk­ito lamp, made from the most ob­scure parts that were seem­ingly items found com­monly in house­holds. When you see the sum of its parts come to­gether and turned on, it was hon­estly one of the most beau­ti­ful cre­ations I’d ever seen. The bril­liance of his artistry still sticks with me to­day, and I can whole­heart­edly at­tribute both Ingo and his lamp as one of my big­gest in­spi­ra­tions in the field.

Matthew Mc­Cormick

The sculp­tural Dodeca light, a nod to the Greekword for 12.

Halo fea­tures pen­dants that can be sus­pended in a mul­ti­tude of com­po­si­tions.

Mila com­bines hand­blown ar­ti­san glass with bent metal forms.

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