The movement towards locally sourced and made products has been strengthening over the past few years, much to the benefit (and delight) of artisans and small business owners. It’s an especially important shift for those who have long been committed to producing their work locally, like lighting designer Bec Brittain. Before opening her own studio in Brooklyn, Brittain served as design director for another lighting trailblazer: Lindsey Adelman Studio. Since then, Brittain–who started out designing bespoke door hardware–has made her mark with her signature SHY Light. Each new piece is designed by Brittain, and produced in New York by local fabricators and artisans.
What prompted you to start your business?
I spent many years working for small businesses, which gave me a great opportunity to learn and become inspired by the drive and vision of other entrepreneurs. It was through those experiences that I realized both how much I enjoyed working in lighting, and also how much I wanted to express my own ideas, so I took the leap and started my own studio.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I definitely don’t have a favorite–they are each like different moods of mine which comprise my fuller personality. Right now, as I answer this, I am particularly fond of Seed, I think it’s such a nice combination of angular geometry, asymmetrical irregularity, and jewel-like softness.
What’s the best part about your job?
That I get to choose what my job is–I pick what the studio focuses on and what our priorities are, keeping myself inspired and excited about new directions and projects.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
In some ways, it’s the other side of the same coin–at times the pressure of big decisions regarding the direction of the business can be challenging.
What inspires you creatively?
For me, inspiration is hard to pin down; it comes through osmosis and somewhat bubbles out. What excites me creatively is the moment after an idea has bubbled out, being able to take a new, vague idea and slowly shape it into something real. The moment of seeing a new component–that was just a few weeks prior a pencil sketch–is always so energizing.
What are some common mistakes people make with lighting?
With new energy efficient lighting becoming so much more popular, it has become especially important to pay attention to different light temperatures. Haphazardly mixing a cool light temp with a warmer one can end up feeling unsettling.
Do you have any tips for updating a room with lighting?
I think good lighting has so much to do with the specific combination of light sources and positions. Any new piece brought in to a room may also involve shuffling around other existing pieces. So, buy what you love and makes you happy to look at, and then react to it with your existing floor and table lamps, etc.