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Bespoke light fittings and the inspiration behind them

Dernier & Hamlyn reveals the sources of inspiration designers draw on to create bespoke light fittings that enhance superyacht interiors…

While bespoke light fittings have been a key component of an interior designer’s tool kit for a long time, custom installations are increasingly being used to add an extra ‘wow’ factor to superyacht projects. This trend has seen Dernier & Hamlyn’s team of specialist designers and artisans regularly work in partnership with talented superyacht designers to design and manufacture bespoke light fittings that draw on many different sources of inspiration.

“The proliferation of LED technology and its ability to be more versatile and customisable has allowed interior designers to be more creative with the light fittings they incorporate on board superyachts,” says Michael Mulhall, director of Dernier & Hamlyn. “The opening of Asian supply chains in the last five-to-ten years has also meant there are a lot more similar products on the market. Bespoke lighting can be used to create uniqueness and really tailor a space according to the designer’s intent and inspiration.”

The inspiration for bespoke lighting on board superyachts can come from many different sources. Sometimes this can be a vessel’s historical context: if the yacht has a certain heritage, Dernier & Hamlyn will look to procure materials that emulate the aesthetic of vintage pieces from the relevant era. What’s more, as the company has been operating for more than 135 years, it has extensive archives of product drawings and concepts that designers can look through and draw on for inspiration. 

As an example, Dernier & Hamlyn was commissioned to make art deco-inspired bespoke light fittings for the 2015 restoration of 50m Malahne, originally built in 1937. Guy Oliver of Oliver Laws designed period-appropriate interiors and recognised that finding suitable antique fittings or something off the peg would be unlikely, so travelled to flea markets in search of inspiration for his bespoke designs. In the salon, for example, there is a table lamp made from a cup that Oliver found in the Marché aux Puces in Paris. Dernier & Hamlyn mounted it on a marble block, spun a copy and finished them both in black chrome to give an art deco feel. Two original wall lights from the RMS Queen Mary were also sourced and Dernier & Hamlyn made four copies for the guest companionway on board.

Dernier & Hamlyn works with a wide variety of materials to turn bespoke lighting aspirations into reality

Another emerging source of inspiration that Dernier & Hamlyn is observing is sustainability – both designing light fittings with sustainability in mind and creating a sustainable aesthetic. “Natural colours, shapes and materials, such as timbers and leathers, are a significant trend across the whole design industry at the moment,” adds Mulhall. “So that it’s both sustainable by function and has a more natural look.”

For the 60m Come Together, for example, Winch Design asked Dernier & Hamlyn to create bespoke light fittings crafted from pure and natural materials to emphasise the relaxed ‘home at the beach’ spirit of the interior (pictured in main image). In the salon, the four circular silk shades designed with reference to anemone shells are fixed to frames handmade by Dernier & Hamlyn and fitted with bronze trims. The yacht’s study also features a beautiful wooden table lamp clad in leather.

While inspiration for bespoke light fittings can come from many places, the creativity needs to be balanced with the practical elements particular to superyachts, such as robust product construction that is easily maintainable (often meaning limited glassware). Superyachts also have limited ceiling heights, so a lighting product generally needs to be shallow, as opposed to suspended. “This is where Dernier & Hamlyn’s insight really adds value,” concludes Mulhall. “The technical experience and insight within our design and engineering team means that we can take a designer’s concept and turn it into a manufacturable product.”

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