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In the first of our monthly Design Journeys feature, Christopher Jenner, creative director of Gestalt Lighting and founder of the eponymous London-based design studio, delves into how he wound up reviving the old and creating the new…
As a child I was always interested in hand craft and how it reflects identity, place and people. A passion for making beautiful things has always been part of my motivation too.
My mother was a maker and was involved in handicrafts. Thanks to her support and love, I was encouraged to attend an art school where I was educated in a foundation of painting, photography and graphic design. From there I travelled the world for two years living in Paris, Israel and Hong Kong; an experience that really opened my eyes culturally and gave me a sense of the world and the people who live in it.
It took quite some time to pluck up the courage to dive into opening my own studio, but time has shown it was the right thing to do. My first client was diptyque and we went out on a limb with the concept, radically altering the way they tell their brand stories. It felt like a risk for everyone involved - it’s nice to be able to say now that the degree of success of the project was unexpected.
When it comes to design, you often need to work hard to find the right solution to a problem, and when you arrive at a solution you need to use your designer’s instinct to know it’s the right way forward. Then, you actually need to make it happen, which is where the hard work comes in again. My advice to those aspiring to break into the industry would be to stay committed to your creativity, and remain passionate and driven.
Each day, I arrive at my studio before 9am, and hit the road running… Our projects span a broad range of disciplines from interiors to product design, branding and strategy and every day presents a new set of challenges, so it’s pretty intense from the time I step through the door to the time I leave. The best part of my job is an ability to create beautiful things, and the worst part is having no time.
I firmly believe that drawing and sketching are essential to staying connected to my creativity and that to be good, you need to practise, so it’s important for me to make sketching a part of my daily routine.
Most of our work happens abroad where the biggest challenge is learning to work with new teams and cultures and finding a balance between their process and ours. And the most important thing I learned along the way? Letting go. There’s no need to hang onto the past…
It's time to discover the future of deisgn. Meet Christopher Jenner of Gestalt Lighting in person this September at Decorex 2018.