From the Kinky Chair to the Michael Cane Light, Alexander White is a witty furniture designer and maker whose playful energy feeds into his exploration of materials and their possibilities. As we launch his new Clover Wall Light, we visit Alexander in his workshop to learn more about his recent journey into lighting.\n \n
What began your journey into lighting?
Lighting is very recent for me and I just wanted to try something different. I felt like it had a lot of potential but also discovered very quickly that you can get it very wrong, very easily. I was drawn to the challenge of designing lighting, especially for the home. You have to find the right balance because it’s not just visual, it’s the whole ambience and mood that you are creating. It is also very technically challenging when you get electronics involved.\n \n
The Clover Light is a continuation of working with rattan cane, what drew you to working with the material?
The Michael Cane Light was hugely ambitious, especially because I’d never worked with cane before. It was four metres in length and you have to work with it wet - working very quickly before it dries out. It has to be fixed into the frame all in one go, it took us four hours. Once I’d made that, I felt like there was more potential for that combination of cane with light. Over the last six months, I’ve been taking the essence of that statement piece and developing a more flexible light that can fit into more contexts.\n \n
What was the most difficult part of making the Clover Light?
Getting the curved piece of wood exactly right. First you have to figure out how you’re going to make the contraption that can make it. I designed the jig and worked out how the wood can be clamped together. We went through several iterations to make something that worked. All of that comes together as part of the design and that’s the fun part - trying to figure out how something you’ve imagined can actually be created.\n
What is your favourite part of the process?\n
I love coming up with the initial idea. I like thinking about transparency and enjoy when you might not necessarily know how something has been made. There’s playfulness with my designs but there’s also very basic technology and simplicity. For me, sketching is very important, immediate and intuitive. It enables me to get a lot of ideas out very quickly.\n
If an idea works in that state, I will take it into CAD and try to make it with real life constraints and begin to understand it mathematically. Once I’ve figured it out and made sure I’ve got the right angles, I’ll start making some models.\n \n
Where did the idea for the Clover Light begin?
I threw a lot of ideas on paper and there was one that stood out to me as having the most potential. It evolved from the initial idea of having one column that you could bolt together in a number of ways. Although I was still exploring the layering of rattan under light, the Clover Light felt like the polar opposite to the Michael Cane Light and I wanted to make something with a different life and a different personality. The design had a lot of possibilities and when all the pieces came together, it felt like a homely but polished product.\n
Discover the Clover Wall Light in Black below, it is also available in Bottle Green and Oxide Red. Email us to discuss bespoke options.\n