Meet the Maker: Gwyn Carless Designs
This week on the Blog of Light, we’re catching up with master craftsman Gwyn Carless, the man behind one of The Light Yard’s most popular ranges, the GCD collection…
Expert craftsman Gwyn Carless keeps his head down in the studio – so much, in fact, that the collaboration with Jeff and the Light Yard team almost passed him by. “I completely missed his email and it nearly didn’t happen,” said Gwyn. “But Jeff was persistent. He rang to see why I hadn’t responded.” The collaboration that ensued would prove immensely fruitful, both creatively and in terms of commercial aims. “Before I met Jeff, I was trying to sell and make and do everything else. And to be honest there were days I just wanted to go and get a proper job.” But since he began working with The Light Yard, Gwyn has been able to place more focus on crafting, which has led to a surge of creativity, resulting in a flurry of new products and a rise in client briefs. “Over the last few years, things have gone up and up,” added Gwyn. ‘It’s been really exciting.”
The Light Yard first teamed up with Gwyn Carless Designs to handle sales of Gwyn’s eponymous GCD collection and has led more recently to their exciting joint project, the aptly-named Alchemist Collection.
The GCD range, however, is where it all started, and Gwyn can trace the collection back to its initial inspiration when, while still a design student at Loughborough College of Art and Design, he observed the effect of light passing through a stack of mirrors delivered to his father’s warehouse.
“The mirrors used to come in by the hundreds,” explained Gwyn. “The sun came in and would shine through the edges of these stacked up mirrors. I found out that it looked great both with natural light and unnatural light shining through.”
With breathtaking results, stacked glass would eventually become a hallmark feature of Gwyn’s collections.
So, what is Gwyn’s favourite light from the GCD collection? It’s the Acier Beacon LED Pillar Light, a low-maintenance wall light for indoor and outdoor use.
It features multiple layers of hand-cut glass in Gwyn’s trademark style, above and below its 304-grade brushed stainless steel body, creating a versatile and highly decorative luminaire.
“When you design a light,” said Gwyn, “you make multiple prototypes, but this one sort of fell into place by itself. The proportions and size worked together straight away, and it performs great on a functional level as well.”
HAND-CRAFTED FOR QUALITY AND ORIGINALITY
Lovingly crafted by the hands of an artisan, the Acier Beacon Pillar Light exemplifies the quality and originality that can be found throughout the high-specification GCD collection, which is available at The Light Yard. According to Gwyn, clients who are focused on quality should choose products made by a craftsman, as opposed to opting for something from a high-street brand, since the materials used and the attention to detail may diminish when subject to the automation of mass production.
Of course, you’ll never find one of Gwyn’s lights in B&Q. The journey of a light from its initial inspiration to final installation in a client’s home is a process Gwyn finds extremely rewarding. He said: “It’s quite exciting thinking of an idea, sketching it down, making a prototype and then eventually selling your light, and selling lots of them. I would never want to lose that creative process.”
Even when it comes to large-scale commercial projects, creativity underscores each step until the client’s ideal lighting design is complete.
“I love problem solving,” added Gwyn. “Customers have an idea and then it’s up to me to work that idea out and figure out how practically it’s going to be made. I can’t switch off sometimes and at night I’m still thinking about how to make it work.”
Gwyn spends a lot more time thinking about lights and glass than the average person. He uses normal ‘float’ glass for most of his projects, which provides the lights with their vibrant green edge. Alternatively, clients can choose an opti-white clear-sided edge, which comes in handy if they are planning a particular colour scheme and the white-edged version better complements their chosen palette.
“I’ve always been driven by using the best materials for the job,” added Gwyn. “For example, we’ve started to work with bamboo. There are two colours, including a dark chocolate which gets its colour as the bamboo is crushed into shape and gets covered in resin. It outperforms hardwoods – twenty years later, it still looks the same.” Growing up to one metre a day, bamboo is one of the most sustainable woods in the world, and using it helps Gwyn to make good on his commitment to maintaining the highest possible eco-credentials.
Sustainability is a core value for both Gwyn and the team at The Light Yard, as all lights available use long-lasting LED bulbs and are specially design to minimise carbon footprint. This, plus shared ideals of craftsmanship and an appreciation for luminaires which are not just functional, but also supremely beautiful, have formed the basis for what has become a remarkable partnership.
For more information on the GCD collection or to learn more about The Light Yard’s full design service for interior and exterior lighting schemes, call 0330 2233 940 or register your interest here