Marks: My process for designing a light is always dependent on the location where it’s going. Often times, I re-work vintage fixtures by changing scale, finishes, and bulb locations so that they fit the room they are designed for, and so they throw discreet but ample light.
I’m inspired by nature. I know it sounds cliché, but I get my best ideas when I’m out hiking or at the beach. I also read every European design magazine and book I can find. They do things differently in Europe. I like to translate the European sensibility to American design. We have much more space and different light, so what works in Europe does not necessarily work here. A lot needs to be adjusted, and that’s a fun process.
You can’t compare market-driven design to art-driven design. It’s not an artist’s prerogative to be commercial. You have to decide what you want to be. If you’re going to be an artist, be an artist. For me, form follows function — always has, always will.
As far as style is concerned, traditional and contemporary are so much more interesting together than separate. I don’t like clinical modern interiors. But I feel a traditional space with no reference to modern-day living is equally strange, unless you’re in an 18th Century castle in England. I’m far more traditional than I am contemporary.
The number-one thing affecting design right now is cost. People need to feel that they’re getting value. Frivolous spending is gone, so products need real value in terms of quality, look, innovation and function.
Every kitchen you see has a pair of industrial lanterns hanging over the island. I’m bored with that look. I wanted to create something that was warm, textured and simple. So I designed a hand-woven pendant light in reaction to the industrial lighting so fashionable now. The Green Oaks pendant has very clean lines. The woven shade lets tiny bits of light shine through, making it stunning at night. The woven rope cord makes it even more handcrafted, which makes it feel special. This piece is hand-woven by artisans, and that to me adds value — and charm.
A favorite from the High Point Market launch of Jeffrey Alan Marks by Palecek, the Green Oaks pendant (above) is a hand-woven design from the Palo Alto Collection.
Marks’ La Jolla Collection for Palecek has the flavor of a luxurious beach house, with inviting textures like the Sea Ridge table lamp (left). www.palecek.com