One half of the haute lighting design duo, Brand Van Egmond, talks exclusively to Design Carrot on their latest explorations, adventures and inspirations.
We could not have thought of a better feature to debut this blog with than talking to the ever personable Annet Van Egmond. As one of the most influential lighting designers of their generation, Annet and her husband, the designer William Brand have established a highly regarded artisan lighting sculptures label; their works installed in the homes of pop and political royalty.
Their works, quite literally bring new light to a space, and that philosophy fits well with our own.
The couple met in design school in their native Netherlands and after a brief period of working independently, decided to join forces. 24 years, two beautiful, creatively inclined sons later, the duo is still as excited about a new project as they were when they unveiled their first piece – simply named Chandelier – to instant iconic status.
Fresh off the positive feedback they received at the Milan show for their new collections – the Gaia and Sultans of Swing, they are now busy delivering 32 lighting sculptures for The Barari Lodge, a desert camp between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE. “I love to explore regional cultures, rituals and history,” says Annet. “If I weren’t a designer I would have been a historian or an archaeologist searching for clues about life in the past, digging through archives and ground. I like to learn and to work and analyse with my hands. Also to design or to dig have a bit in common – you are treasure hunting you don’t know what you find really; it has something magical.”
“We recently got back from a family vacation in The States,” says Annet. “Mother Nature inspires us tremendously and our travels have often led to new collections.” Their ‘Hollywood’ collection of lights (rightfully, Madonna has one of them in her NYC pad) were inspired by their travels though Africa. “We went rafting and hiked through the Grand Canyon. We also visited LA and Las Vegas: a bigger contrast you can’t imagine! But we’ve come back inspired and it was high to see our works installed at the Cosmopolitan hotel and Louis Vuitton boutique in the Bellagio hotel.”
There is buzz that LA is the new design capital. “I sense in LA an extraordinary positive spirit. This is of course very Californian! I like its edginess, rawness combined with an enormous thirst for beauty,” muses Annet. “Above all it is a city of dreams; both broken and real. It seemed everyone we met there were on a quest to improve themselves. So yes; LA is a creative place and I think it’s going to be interesting to follow!”
“I love the free mind; grabbing the old values and sense of aesthetics from history and translating them into designs in today’s world – a bridge between the old world and the future.”
When they need to rest their weary heads, the family has their period home to come back to. Nestled in a private garden area on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the designer couple found haven in an old music school which they refurbished into a loving space to nurture their growing family and careers. What served as a space away from the word also allowed their creativity to run wild. Its lovely garden became Annet’s source of rejuvenation while William sought the attic for his studio. Little wonder then, that their home often doubles as a gallery to their iconic pieces as well as a lab to experiment in.
After years of success, the couple now works out of a brand new studio; their greatest challenge does not lie there. “It’s our two sons; we would like to give them all possibilities in the world.”
You can follow the bespoke lighting studio on Twitter here.