In our interview series, we talk to our favourite bloggers and experts about their trend predictions and styles. Here, we meet Sophie Amini, designer at Pooky
1.When should we start thinking about lighting?
From a conceptual point of view it is never too early to start!
You may already have strong ideas but, if not, gather together cuttings, designs and colours to create a moodboard of what inspires you and what you would like to incorporate.
From a practical point of view the space will dictate some of your final decisions. Careful consideration needs to be given to utility areas, key pieces of furniture, artworks and focal points. Having a clear vision of what you want both practically and creatively before work begins will ultimately save time and money so don’t rush it!
2. How can I create a lighting scheme that is beautiful yet practical?
It’s all about layering.
Most rooms require a generic backdrop of lighting in order to facilitate everyday tasks. Spotlights are popular but I prefer to use wall lights or pendants which are equally effective but not so clinical. Our prismatic glass shades such as the Qilin, the Henry or Henrietta work well as not only do they give out good light, they also make a more personal statement. I then make sure to use carefully chosen table and floor lamps, often wired up to 5amp sockets, so with a flick of a switch you add another layer, creating an ambience which is flattering and soft, perfect for relaxing or socialising.
3.What sort of lighting should you include in your home?
I think of lighting as oxygen which will bring your home alive. Practicalities may dictate many elements but in terms of creating a ‘home’ it is very personal and there is no ‘should’! A glowing Luxor lantern in the hallway. Tall Crescent lamps on a console table. Wall lights flanking a fireplace or mirror. A pair of colourful table lamps either side of a sofa with a floor lamp overlooking an armchair. A cosy spindle with a neat empire shade on a bedside table. A large chandelier over the dining room table. Our Stella pendants along the landing. A row of chic Thea’s over the kitchen island. Anything goes, we hope to encourage self-expression and provide an inspiring array of options.
4. How do I decide where to place the light fittings?
This is personal so these are rough guidelines which may be helpful. For wall lights either side of a painting or mirror, I centre the fixture at about 170cm from the floor. For pendants I like to hang them in threes; over a dining table at about 80cm above the surface, over a kitchen island at about 90cm. Most of our more substantial pendants have hooks and chains so can easily adapt. Electricians are very clever at providing flexible options so if in doubt install an extra socket or wiring option just in case.
5. What about kitchens and bathrooms?
Kitchens and bathrooms require specialist lighting for certain limited areas but beyond these areas lighting is a safe and great way to brighten up what is often a utilitarian space.
6. What are the latest trends for lighting?
There is still a trend for simple forms which can adapt to either a formal or intimate setting, lamps that pack a punch with pattern and form, but are easy on the eye and not invasive. Chandeliers which look great in a conventional setting but also work well as an outsized feature in a smaller space are also popular.
Clusters have been on trend for a while now and I think this will continue into autumn winter. We are very excited about our new designs which I think will have current appeal. Classic designs with a twist, fun but chic and made from quality materials. In one or two you’ll see inspiration from the 70’s…
7. What are your bestselling lights?
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This constantly changes so it is hard to be specific. We have a diverse range of lights and diverse customers each of whom are looking for a different product. We also get large orders from hotels or developments which can give a distorted view of what most of what people actually like or are looking for. We are very excited about our new range of lights so watch this space!
8. Do you see every product through from conception to execution?
Yes. We work very closely both with each other and with the manufacturers. We talk through sketches and ideas at length before deciding which samples to get made up. Sketches are translated into technical drawings from which the manufacturers can work. Collaboration with the manufacturers is essential as every millimetre makes a difference as does the tone of a colour or the right finish. There is often a lot of toing and froing to get the product exactly right.
9. How do you decide which products to sell at Pooky?
It is good to know what is out there and to keep an eye on current trends but we do try to be objective and constantly move forward. There is a thread of familiarity through most of our products, whether traditional, practical or quirky but nothing is off the table for us and keeping an open mind is key. Lighting is an incredibly personal and expressive form of decoration so we try to provide a diverse collection to hopefully inspire a diverse clientele.
10. What is your favourite light fixture?
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For pendants I love the simple sleek design of our classic chain ceiling rose especially the antique brass which works perfectly with our heavier hand blown glass pendants and lanterns. Another favourite is our scroll wall light fitting. It is a sleek design, elegant yet subtle and with our new range of shades looks stunning.