From humble beginnings in a garage, Brand van Egmond is today a luxury brand of lighting that can be found in prestigious locations around the world. We find out more from co-founder Annet van Egmond.
18 December, 2013
Established in 1989, Brand van Egmond is a Dutch brand whose works can be found in numerous lounges, bars, private clubs, hotel chains, and luxury retail boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and Chopard. The company also counts many celebrities as well as royalty among its clients.
Hollywood standing lamp (left) and chandelier in workshop (right)
The story of how husband and wife William Brand and Annet van Egmond started the company, however, is as humble as they come.
“We like to design without restraints. So after studying at the academy (Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands), we started [to do so] in my parents’ garage,” says Annet, who was in Singapore recently.
“There we were making iron sculptures on the ground. Later, we put them on the ceiling with light inside… and so lighting sculptures were born.” Till today, high quality metals remain the primary material of choice in their work.
Candles & Spirits
Annet shares that the lack of a Dutch design scene at the time was also an important catalyst that drove them to experiment and innovate, and to focus on making craft-based products.
She says, “We had just come out of the academy, and we didn’t actually have a factory to produce [our work]. So in our workshop, we had to have the passion to create by ourselves. I think that [helped us] to think out of the box.”
“When you don’t have the possibility to produce… you have to create things on your own.”
The lights that Brand van Egmond creates are highly sculptural and expressive in nature – which is hardly surprising considering Annet’s background as an artist and sculptor. The fact that William is an architect also means that they can offer clients an added level of expertise that goes beyond mere product design to consider the space in which the lighting objects will reside.
“That’s the power of William – he knows everything [there is to know] about space,” says Annet.
Brand van Egmond’s latest project for Chopard in Kuwait
One of Brand van Egmond’s latest projects, and one that the couple are particularly proud of, is a lighting sculpture for Chopard’s new boutique in Kuwait. It hangs from a ceiling that’s 13 metres high and references diamonds, which Chopard uses in its jewellery pieces.
The light sculpture had to be “very transparent” says Annet, and the decision was made by the client to use Swarovski crystals. These were applied in a geometrical formation to catch as well as reflect light. The result is one huge ball of light, with an expanding tail much like a comet falling out of the sky. Surrounding it are formations of the biggest diamond shaped Swarovski crystals with built-in LED light to accentuate the central ball. The surrounding ring of satellites also gives the ball an extra aureole so that the light sculpture becomes an even more powerful presence in the space.
Sultan of Swing, the latest design in their collection
Annet shares that the couple are hugely inspired by their travels, by the people they meet, and by the stories they hear. “The whole world inspires us,” she says, “It could be nature in Africa, it could be the tassels of an old curtain (as in the case of a new product in their collection called Sultan of Swing).
She continues, “And when I’m here in Singapore, I want to be open for inspiration. Just yesterday I was at the Dutch embassy, and [there were] beautiful people with beautiful stories to tell.”
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