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036


DETAILS interview


THE LIGHT TOUCH


Raised in a practical family of creatives; a father who is a trained cabinet maker and a mother with a gift for all things design, it was inevitable that Savage would carry an artistic gene or two. “There wasn’t much left in the house that hadn’t been crafted by either parent,” explains Savage. From his father’s chiseled interiors: “the fitted bespoke kitchen, tables, chairs, even the beds we slept in,” he recalls. All accesso- rised by his mother’s metalwork, textiles & ceramics, the family home was certainly an embodiment of their love of art, design and craftsmanship. An apt memory, Savage re- calls, is of his mother using clay to create a three dimensional structure to house a light fitting; making hand carved and pierced shapes for the light to escape. The distribu- tion of light and its atmospheric impact on the living room was an early influence on the young Savage. His parents hands-on ap- proach certainly nurtured his own original- ity and his awareness to the effect lighting could have on an environment. Throughout his early years this lighting theme continued in his own artistic creations, cultivating his discipline; though he admits himself, some- what subconsciously at the time. By his teens Savage was heavily interested in sculptural forms and the use of materi- als both natural and manmade. A specific love of glass and acrylic, and the dynamics of lighting led to him spending hours in his father’s workshop experimenting. Blown plastics resulted in lenses through which light was shone and the resulting colours,


shapes and forms noted for future refer- ence.


Following an Art Foundation course, his de- sign aspirations led him to the University of Wales, College Newport; where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Design. His desire was not to venture down the conventional art and design route but to combine technical and artistic disciplines within three ele- ments; art and design history; product de- sign; and Installation and site, creating site specific art exhibits that gained regional news recognition.


During this time Savage explored his fascination and love of nomadic culture and transportable furniture, and following his degree, installed kilns in his parent’s garage and attended short courses with the likes of famous glass sculptor Danny Lane. Savage combined the decorative with the functional; casting acoustic loudspeakers in recycled glass, and later only acrylic, and designed indirect table lamps with, often found materials such as rusted metal to pro- duce attractive and relaxing reflected warm light. It was whilst marketing these objects (he exhibited and sold pieces in Turin, Italy) that he took his first formal steps into the lighting arena as technical sales and lighting design for Illuma. There he became aware of the specialist lighting design profession which has had him hooked ever since, it [lighting], in his own words: “has captivated and at times ‘trapped’ me, and will hope- fully do so for many more years.” This realisation of the discipline led him to


Nathan Savage, Lighting Designer and Partner at Light Touch PLD, talks openly about his lighting influences and the new independent design consultancy shaping the industry in the Middle East. Liz Moody reports.


independent designer’s dpa lighting con- sultants. Firstly based in rural Oxfordshire and subsequently the Dubai office; where he was promoted to Associate, accountable for a team of designers and numerous high profile international projects. He is keen to express the move was for life experi- ence, self progression and the opportunity to explore other geographical landscapes and cultures; and not the financial gains so often associated with the region. “Learning how business is conducted and how people perceive light in the region is different to how we consider it in the UK, it was an op- portunity I relished,” Savage states. It was also a region he instinctively took to his heart; after five years of living and working in the Middle East, mastering the diverse working practices and cultures, he has laid down permanent roots. Purchas- ing a home in the desirable Dubai Marina district and launching independent light- ing design consultancy Light Touch PLD, in collaboration with fellow British expat Paul Miles (previously Head of Lighting Design at WSP Middle East) and in partnership with distinguished International consultants Proj- ect Lighting Design.


It was ironically the distraction of the badly lit greens during a round of golf that sparked the idea of their collaboration; Miles and Savage bore the concept of their consultancy. Savage retells: “There were many contributing factors, we were both ready to take on new challenges and we wanted to step outside the confines and


“It is true that GLS is an inefficient light source in terms of producing visible light, but converting to CFL lamps for every application because they are meant to be environmentally friendly is not the answer.”


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