UK Lighting Design Family Tree
How did you get the idea to create the UK Lighting Design Family Tree?
Sharon Stammers: Martin Lupton and I were bored on a plane one day. We realised that Light Collective are the bastard love child of Andre Tammes and Miles Pinniger, two of the pioneers of the UK lighting industry, with a good chunk of foster care from LightMatters and BDP thrown in along the way. This spurred us on to try and create a family tree depicting the UK lighting industry.
We think it’s important to always remember your roots. The UK lighting industry is an entangled and complex mesh of entwined practices and people which is one of the things that makes it great.
What was the reaction of the Lighting Design Community?
Sharon Stammers: to be honest, lots of designers were cross with us. People complained that we had made mistakes or they weren’t included. There was also comments about our choice to put forward LDP and Pinnigers as pioneers of the UK lighting industry. The family tree that we created before was centred around Martin and I, our work history and where we started from. (which was from Miles and Andre). We aren’t saying that there weren’t other pioneers – this is just our personal route in the industry – its also very tongue in cheek – we are obviously not the bastard love child of either of them!
Why did you choose to update the first published in Mondo*arc in 2011?
Sharon Stammers: Mondo*arc has always been our first choice of lighting magazine. Its current and aimed exclusively at designers so when they asked us if we wanted to do a new version we agreed. The Lighting Industry has moved on since then so its definitely time there was an update.
When the new LD Family Tree will be presented?
Sharon Stammers: It was unveiled live at the May Design Series on the 19th May on London. It was also shown in print in the latest issue of Mondo Arc magazine.
How many participants do you have till now?
Sharon Stammers: The 2011 family tree had 82 designers and the 2014 version has 253. We have also gone up from 47 companies to 142.
What news compared to the first one?
Sharon Stammers: This time, we wanted help to get it right and ensure we didn’t forget anyone. We set up an online form that enabled people to register their work history. We are also asking them to check the unveiled version so that we clear up other mistakes. Its a complex, colourful and crazy pattern of peoples movement from company to company and it needs input to help us check its correct.
What did you learn from this genealogical experience from the profession?
Sharon Stammers: We learnt that there are 70% male and 30% female designers on the tree. That the most popular name for a male lighting designer is Daniel and Laura for a female. We also learnt that 20% of designers had worked for a manufacturer at some point whilst 27% had worked outside the UK.
Here is the link to the UK Lighting Design Family Tree
What’s you dream regarding the International Year of Light 2015?
Sharon Stammers: That lighting designers get a chance to get their message out to an audience that’s wider than the industry we work in.
Interview realized by Vincent Laganier via email May 23, 2014.