Lighting designer Barbara Berry inspired by daily living
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

lighting designers
Barbara Berry, one of Boyd Lighting's lighting designers, created the Belvedere pendant.
lighting designers

Barry: Philosophy is core to my work. Some designers are motivated by periods or styles. I’m inspired by the philosophy of living and the rituals around the daily acts in our lives -- sleeping, bathing, reading, dining. My designs stem from [those things] and circle outward. So, whether it’s designing a bedroom, an office or a TV room, they stem from how the room is used and how it should feel.

I approach things from an emotional standpoint. I may wonder what the walls would feel like if they were a deep burnt umber and then wonder if I could find a fabric in that color. I see things tonally and in layers. For me, a lamp doesn’t stand alone. A chair doesn’t stand alone. The fabric doesn’t stand alone.

Most of the lighting that we’ve designed has come from projects we’ve worked on. Belvedere [my new indoor/outdoor collection for Boyd Lighting] is no exception. I would often search for an outdoor lamp or sconce that wasn’t Arts & Crafts, boathouse or country. It seems like what was available always fell into these vernaculars of design. I would get to the lighting, and there would be a void. Few things spoke to simplicity -- to that neutral place where the lighting could be modern or traditional or in between.

The Belvedere lantern is beautifully constructed. It’s a big piece, the biggest piece I have ever done. It’s made in bronze, and it can have different finishes. It has ribbed glass. It’s clean, but it has facets as a nod to tradition. I wanted a piece that spoke to solid, timeless and well-crafted architecture. If I were an architect, I’d be happy to see something like it for the exterior. It doesn’t fall into any particular time and place. It’s neutral in that way.

If I had to say that I had a direction, stylistically, I’d say that it’s simplicity. I work in a bubble. I’m not a big magazine reader. I’m not a big pop-culture person. I just feel like I have this vision, and I’m trying to surround myself with it. It’s a fragile vision, so I don’t try to look outward that much, because I’m afraid I’ll be too impressed by something else, and I’m trying to hold onto it. With the world being so intense, I believe in simplicity. I think that we want to continue to simplify our lives.

I am inspired by nature and the daily acts of living. Like the color of the bathtub and the water when I make a cup of green tea, the way coffee changes color. I am searching for poetry in my every moment. When I’m arranging my breakfast, I push my cup here, I push my bowl there. It has to land right. My life touches everything I do. It becomes my work, my philosophy, and I’m lucky to have different companies to design for. It’s a wonderful process to share with people. When you speak your truth and speak from your core, and you are enthusiastic and impassioned, it’s powerful. I go into people’s homes and their lives, and I awaken their senses. They become devotees pretty quickly. They start to see how design is transformational, and they want more of it.

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