Louis A. Lara: The spark for any inspired idea always will be life experience. I can fluff that up with clichés like, “I get inspired by shapes in nature or the clouds,” but this kind of pseudo-artsy talk is superfluous and contrary to my philosophy of design, which is simplicity in creative expression. The challenge is to transform inspiration into something meaningful and of benefit to the people who experience what I create. Better design truly does have the power to enhance quality of life.
I have difficulty relating to traditional design style. Can one find inspiration in it? Sure, just ask Philippe Starck when he designed the Louis Ghost chair for Kartell. I’ve been asked to do traditional pieces, but I always take a pass. There’s no pleasure in it for me. I’m a designer of this age and this century, and I want to create designs that reflect that. If I’m lucky and they’re done well, then perhaps my designs will one day join the ranks of other contemporary classics that are decades old yet look as if they were designed yesterday.
Recently, I was contacted by an antiques dealer who wanted to restore one of my Sulu task lamp designs for Dansk Lights. I designed this lamp nearly 20 years ago, and the dealer found it in an estate sale. It had been part of someone’s life all this time. It was one of the most satisfying moments in my career.
The INDA Cordless Lighting Collection came out of the challenge Gary Pettitt, owner of Seasonal Living, gave me. He asked for a contemporary, all-weather, outdoor cordless lamp for casual outdoor seating areas. This was new territory. We worked with an LED supplier to create a customized light source with enough light output and battery life to make it a practical consumer product. The physical design of the lamp came from my experience designing outdoor products and living in South Florida. They’re concrete for weight and durability in windy and wet conditions. The anodized aluminum and UV-resistant polypropylene shades are translucent, yet have no problem getting wet or being in the sun. The aesthetics of the design come from my desire for simple, visually balanced shapes.
Louis A. Lara’s INDA table and floor lamps for Seasonal Living have LED sources, concrete bases and shades made of anodized aluminum and UV-resistant polypropylene. www.seasonalliving.com
Table lamps from Lara's INDA line for Seasonal Living.
Lara designed the Sulu lamp for Dansk Lights nearly 20 years ago.