Reframing our relationships to the things we buy. Interview with FROM LIGHTING.
We spoke with our friend Tobias of FROM LIGHTING - an independent lighting brand we curate for the design-object section of HUNDHUND. We discussed their philosophy of celebrating the individuals who make their products as well as their belief in the importance of personal connection in manufacturing.
“Deep technological research, a poetic approach and rigorous aesthetics” are just a few phrases Tobias Nitsche and Cesare Bizzotto use to describe their design process for creating their beautiful and innovative lighting objects.
Following their studies together at ECAL in Switzerland, the German-born Tobias and Italian-born Cesare began collaborating on furniture designs. Then, during time spent working with craftsmen in Northern Italy producing commercial prototypes of their designs, the pair had an epiphany.
“We met so many people,” Tobias notes, “We found that it was inspiring to work with them, and we realised that we could just directly sell what they produced for us and not just work with them for prototyping but for serious production.”
FROM LIGHTING was born.
Three years on, and this reverence for the craftsmen behind their products remains central to FROM LIGHTING’s philosophy. The section of their website entitled ORIGINS outlines this elegantly.
Tobias and Cesare visited the craftsmen in Italy and documented the experience. On the ORIGINS page you can find documentary photographs of these men and women, as well as descriptions of who they are, what they do, and why their job is significant.
The ORIGINS page serves as a perfect example of why the brand is named FROM LIGHTING. Tobias and Cesare believe it to be of the utmost importance to maintain an awareness of who makes our products, and from where they originate.
As well as ensuring their customers feel a connection to the manufacturing process, the duo also views the quality of their own relationship to the craftsmen to be profoundly important. For this reason, the early stages of design and finding craftsmen aren’t purely based on research, numbers or cost, but also depends on real-world connection and feeling.
“We are two different characters - Cesare and me - maybe I'm more the guy who's isolated in his studio inventing things. I like to work with my soldering iron and build prototypes, but Cesare, as well as bringing his own poetry to the designs, is always involving people in the process. Sometimes we have an idea and [we think] how could we do it? Then we drive around and find the people and he talks to them.”
Tobias and Cesare’s design process is quite literally a journey, as they travel through the rural Italian landscape in search of their ideal craftsmen, “The first will tell us 'Go to him, he has a super nice ‘water-cutter for metal that's more precise than ours’ or whatever, and then we talk to many, many people. We try [prototypes] with many different craftsmen and then after a few trials we see with whom we get along.”
Tobias and Cesare believe that when you buy cheap, mass-produced goods, “You just don’t have the same connection to the objects. You buy them and then you don't care about them anymore so you throw them away a few months later."
The pair consider the growing movement of smaller-scale craft and an emphasis on quality to be an antidote to this harmful global culture of overconsumption.
“We are creating our objects very, very carefully because we would like people to value the objects at the end, and I think the connection to the objects can be deeper if people know where they are coming from.”
Thank you to Tobias and Cesare. You can find a selection of FROM LIGHTING pieces we sell at HUNDHUND here.
Words by Ewan Waddell.