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Behind the Design:
8 Questions with Lighting Design Duo, Chapman & Myers


Since 1996, lighting industry legend E.F. Chapman has been associated with Visual Comfort & Co. as Chief Designer. Under his creative direction, they established their first signature line of products, Chart House. Since then, Mr. Chapman has contributed hundreds of iconic designs and has now partnered with Kyle Myers forming Chapman & Myers. Over the last decade, Myers has been responsible for the creative direction of the Ralph Lauren Home lighting collection. Chapman designs primarily within a classical idiom of fundamental principles, while Myers brings a more modern orientation and sensibility to their partnership. This forms an important balance to their creative process and as a result, provides a breadth of expression encompassing traditional, modern and transitional aesthetics.

Chapman designs principally within a classical idiom of fundamental principles, while Myers brings a more modern orientation and sensibility to their partnership. 

You recently launched a new collection with Visual Comfort & Co. this past April in High Point. Could you describe a few highlights from your premiere?

C&M: One of the standout series was the Cora. We wanted to create a waterfall chandelier using layered drops of alabaster to highlight the beauty of the material. Visual Comfort developed a new technique for hand shaping thin, delicate, semi-translucent alabaster drops. We designed a unique and almost jewelry like brass armature for hanging clusters of the drops to create a layered effect and allow the light to filter through the natural variation in the stone. Another favorite was the Aiden series, which was inspired by a mid-century Danish iron candelabra from an antique shop in London. We loved the way it felt both modern and medieval. Its candle cups looked almost like calla lilies forged out of iron and we re-interpreted it into this series of chandeliers and sconces. 

Sandy and Kyle review drawings of their new Aiden Chandelier for Visual Comfort & Co. 

With this new collaboration, how do you start the design process?

KM: We each brought lots of ideas to the table and spent hours and hours going through them and sketching and fleshing them out. Honestly, we were having so much fun the challenge was narrowing our concepts down rather than coming up with them.

How do you complement each other?

KM: We have our own personal preferences, but are both really open and able to design within any design aesthetic based on those preferences. We each land on opposite ends of the modern to traditional spectrum which gives a transitional balance to our designs.

SC: Couldn't say it better myself.

Concept board of the new Aiden ChandelierGabriel Sconce, and Bates Floor Lamp.

 

  

Sandy and Kyle discuss new ways to feature the hand-shaped piece of alabaster used in their Cora series. 

What do your designs say about you as a team? 

KM: Sandy has a great history of timeless design - creating things that have longevity of appeal.

SC: That remains the objective of our collaborative focus.

What part of the product development process do you enjoy the most?

KM: There are many enjoyable moments all along the way in bringing a new design to life, but I'd say two of my favorite moments are at opposite ends of the process. First. the initial spark of inspiration and connection where both Sandy and I get excited about an idea and then all the way at the other end after a new item is introduced at market and sells' Sales are the ultimate verification that other people connected with the design and felt that same spark that we did in creating it. 

SC: Yes, that is the most fulfilling part of the design process for me - that of achieving the fit between market opportunity and product expression. 

 

A display of samples and materials.

 

 

 

What is your favorite material to work with?

KM: Currently we're really loving this new alabaster finish and would like to do more items with it.

SC: Likewise. it has an air of refinement yet feels soft and slightly casual. 

 

 

 

What is the most recent thing you experienced that has deeply inspired you?

KM: I just got back from one of the largest outdoor antiques markets in the U.S. - the Brimfield Antiques Market in Brimfield, MA. We are lucky enough to live not too far away and it's always filled with fields and fields of vintage inspiration as well as new and inspiring vendors from around the world. It's helpful looking back at historical references when creating new designs especially for techniques and materials that may have been lost over time. A few years ago. I found a bin of hand cut crystal chandelier drops from the former West Germany unlike anything I'd seen before. Having attended at least one show a year for over a decade. you never really know what you're going to find and it's always worth the trip.

SC: I have just re-read "The Inspiration Of The Past" by John Cornforth. a historical retrospective of John Fowler's association with Nancy Lancaster and his involvement with the decoration and architectural treatment of his own and some great English country houses. Because I am fundamentally a traditionalist - anti fad - I drew sustenance from the focus upon respect for the attribute it espoused.

What is Visual Comfort?

KM: To us it's a balance - the feeling you get walking into a thoughtfully decorated room. Our designs try to find that balance between drawing your attention to its beauty without overpowering the space.

SC: As a company - a comprehensive lighting resource embodying great designs and an absolutely first class marketing operation in all respects. 

 

Sandy and Kyle review drawings of their new Gabriel Single Sconce for Visual Comfort & Co. 

 

 

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