YHBHS interview with David Taylor

"Working as I have, for the last 12 years as a full-time independent designer-maker, my design philosophy has been distilled down to "if it feels good do it", The longer I have worked in the design/crafts arena the more I have come to realize the making myself happy is the most important goal of my work..."

just a few of David Taylor' lamps......

"My thoughts always seem to lie a step ahead what I am trying to do."


What is your draw/attraction to designing lamps?

It's a fairly simple concept, anything with a light source in it can be considered to be a lamp. I'm a craftsman and as such the functionality in my work is not a priority, there are other more important ingredients to be considered. By making pieces by hand I am released from the constrains of industry and have an enormous freedom. I work with lots of projects simultaneously and they all tend to hook into one another as ideas emerge and are developed. The same details can be tried in various projects until a home is found and it's in the lamps they usually tend to end up. I don't make technical lighting that demands a level of function although I have a friend who is a lighting professor who can run my stuff through his computer if I need technical data but it's usually just quicker making a new prototype.

Your lighting installations are sculptural works onto themselves... GUBBÄNGEN 2010 , the project, what is the concept behind this work?

The materials, and the length of time the project took to complete? Gubbängen was a commission. 3 entries were to be given there own characteristic lighting installation. The entrance area to these three buildings is neither outdoors or private but a strange territory somewhere in between. I worked with themes that were more connected to the public / private spaces and semi indoor areas found in gardens. The lighting system itself is controlled by movement detectors and the lamps power up from 20% to max over a 10 sec period when activated, they are lit as long as there is activity in the area and then dim back down to 20% over a minute. The 3 entrances are beside each other at street level, so this power up/down control creates a slow pulsating effect and when inactive gives a comfortable security lighting on the street outside.

Made in brass with a hacked IKEA metal shade......

You are a trained silversmith... Can you talk about the world of silversmithing?

I can talk about the world of silversmithing for ever. Silver is the most beautiful material to work with from a making point of view, unfortunately it's expensive, and making silver objects is also very time consuming which means that any well made piece is going to be expensive and this restricts the market making it very difficult to earn a living making silver holloware. To compensate for this I design and make other stuff for a wider public, cutlery and commercial lighting that are more volume products in order to generate some income. This allows me continue doing the work that I get the biggest kick out of, which is producing silverware for my own enjoyment and a very small audience.

Your design philosophy? The importance of humor in your work?

It's like generating a critical mass through experiment, inching toward the tipping point. Working as I have, for the last 12 years as a full-time independent designer-maker, my design philosophy has been distilled down to "if it feels good do it", The longer I have worked in the design/crafts arena the more I have come to realize the making myself happy is the most important goal of my work. Firstly because it helps me maintained my enthusiasm for what I do and also the more I get out of producing and making the work the better it becomes. It sounds kind of weird but I'm still getting better at making the work of David Taylor. Unfortunately selling is still the bottom line and I have a large collection of my own work, happily the bulk of this collection was done in my first years out of school when I still listened to my peers and tried to find a place among them.

above: point pendant lamp.....

below image: PVC sewage pipe


Favorite materials to work with at the moment?

Metal is always present when I make my work, I really enjoy turning raw material into an object loaded with meaning or value, my favorite material is the one that is most appropriate. The material that lends itself best to helping me realise the idea. The "Point" pendant lamps are made of paper, rope and 200mm PVC sewage pipe. I never thought I would have a relationship to sewage pipe but when I discovered it was exactly what I needed to complete the lamps I have to admit, the colour it's weight, and being so easily workable, it did start to look kinda sexy.

When I see your work I think 80's nostalgia color palette, but then these crazy yellows fade in.. Any artists that inspire you?

Gunilla Klingberg, Tomás Saracenos, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Jacob Dahlgren, Jakob Robertsson to name only a few and all working with subject matter that relates to here and now. Stockholm has some great galleries and I visit many of them often. I usually take my 2 year old with me as it really adds to the experience and also he loves galleries.

Plans for your work in the future?

Next stop is Milan which is a first for me, I've never really seen the furniture fair as my forum, but as the focus of mainstream design flirts with ethos of the crafts I think it's an exciting time to go there and show some work. I'm sure I'll be full of reactionary zeal when I get back! I want to move up in format and explore what this can mean in terms of semi-functional crafts. This means a bigger workshop which means more money so I'm going to have to work harder at getting some commercial stuff to market. I also part of a group MADE BY: we are active in the crafts field and have some really cool projects we really need to realize soon! I also have a solo exhibition coming up where I want to do some work in glass...we will see what happens and I'll be in Korea in September with an exhibition. As one thing leads to another I just join the dots and the pattern that emerges is what drives my work forward. I can't really be more specific other than it's probably going to get bigger and more expressive.

What's the design scene like in Stockholm?

Other designers in Stockholm that are exciting you at the moment? The design scene in Stockholm is robust and oozing with confidence, there is a lot going on, but you have to remember that Stockholm is a pretty small town. Only about a million. Having said that there is a high level of awareness here and plenty of support. Most of the designers I like the best are craftsmen like myself but who produce work with depth and sensitivity. Check out Mia E Görensson.....

go to David Taylor's site here...
all images courtesy of David Taylor and his studio, and his website. thanks david!