“I am a modernist at heart, still preferring subtraction to addition. I still consider that art and design can make the world a better place.”
Not one for making a bold statement, Terence Woodgate is known for producing thoughtful, unassuming and functional designs. After years of designing for other brands, he has recently released his first collection called Solid, which is comprised of perfectly engineered and beautifully simple lights utilising MEGAMAN LED technology. We are very proud to be welcoming Solid to our extensive lighting collection. To help you to get to know the man behind the genius, we asked Terence a few questions about his journey and how he landed at making his own collection…
Terence Woodgate Solid Pendant Light Walnut, £157
Here at Nest.co.uk, we are thrilled to be welcoming ‘Solid’ to our collection. We understand that you wanted to start your own brand in order to be in control of every aspect of the production process. Are there any other factors that encouraged you to venture out on your own?
It enables me to be more adventurous in terms of design and more exacting in terms of manufacture. It also gives me the opportunity to act more swiftly and directly. The brand has already benefited from the direct contact with retailers and users. Such direct feedback is invaluable.
The Solid collection is comprised of pendants and down lights made from Carrara and Nero Marquina marble, oak and walnut. What inspired you to use these simple materials?
I think because they are just that - simple yet noble materials that will last. One of the benefits of LEDs is that you can use them in close proximity to such materials. I used marble for some accessories I designed way back in the early 90s. I loved the touch and feel of the material. It has this wonderful provenance having been carved throughout time by sculptors, because it has the translucency of skin. Yet, I was still surprised how the spilled light from the LED managed to penetrate 12mm of Carrara to give a soft glow to the base.
Terence Woodgate Solid Pendant Light Nero Marquina Marble, £197
You’ve partnered with MEGAMAN, one of the leading and most efficient LED lamp manufacturers. How did this partnership come about?
I have been designing professional technical lighting for museum galleries, offices and shops for many years. You get to know the good LED manufacturers. I designed an exterior light for Paviom and we used a MEGAMAN LED lamp that impressed me. MEGAMAN is a professional company that has only ever made energy-saving lamps.
You’ve previously stated that you’ve always worked within the Charles Eames model of design, which is to be aware of any constraints and to design within those. What constraints did you encounter when designing the Solid collection, if any?
I wanted to optimise the incredible efficacy of LEDs, so we worked hard on designing the fitting to allow the LED to work at its optimum. The life and efficiency of the LED is improved if you allow for cooling airflow to disperse the little heat which they create. Testing by the Lighting Industry Association proved the thinking.
One constraint, which I think is very important but often overlooked, is glare. We placed the LED deep into the fitting without compromising the beam.
You’ve received many design industry awards throughout your time as a furniture and industrial designer. Which is most significant to you?
Becoming a RDI (Royal Designer for Industry). It’s significant because ‘sustained excellence’ is the criteria and one’s work is considered by your peers and design heroes. Plus, there is no commercial influence whatsoever. There is also ongoing commitment, meeting up over the year to consider newly proposed designers.
We’re proud to sell a selection of your designs, such as the Punt Dot Sideboard and SCP Parallel Shelving System. Is there a particular design of yours that you’re most proud of?
I think like all designers, we feel most engaged with our latest design. It is where the sum of our skills and experience are applied; therefore I am very proud of Solid. I've had the chance to work with some great companies like Punt and SCP. The Surface Table for Established & Sons was special for the result, the experimentation and for working with one of the greatest Formula 1 designers John Barnard RDI. I thought I was exacting until I worked with John.
Terence Woodgate Solid Pendant Light Carrara Marble, £197
You established your first design studio in London in 1988, after training as a furniture designer at the London Guildhall University. Has your perception of design changed since those days?
I really don’t think it has. I am a modernist at heart, still preferring subtraction to addition. I still consider that art and design can make the world a better place. However, I am uncomfortable with design becoming fashion.
We understand that you are inspired by contemporary and 20th century modernist art. Are there any designers in particular that inspire you?
I am very much inspired by contemporary art. Design is a fusion between art and technology. Designers that get the balance right are the ones that inspire. Ingo Maurer is one lighting designer that I admire, mainly for his courage. The work of friends like Sam Hecht, Jasper Morrison, Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby is all inspirational.
How do you see yourself developing the Terence Woodgate brand over the next year?
The focus will be only on lighting, as it is such an exciting time with lighting going digital and the possibilities this presents for integrating with home control systems. We already have some exciting lighting designs in development. It is also our intention to invite other designers to work with the brand.