Meet Jan Flook, Melbourne's Milan trained maker!
I met Jan Flook many moons ago now, and I've been consistently impressed by his ability to forge beauty from common objects (let alone the beauty he creates from exquisite materials). His light is creative, clever, often quirky and always inspiring, creating light for spaces from objects of design excellence - as proven by his many (many) lighting awards now hanging (presumably) on a wall somewhere.
We sat down to talk about what drives him, what inspires him and what he sees as the meaning of light.
Your “Origin” story – how did you discover lighting design as an occupation/business?
My trade if you like has always been industrial design, a suggestion put to me by my father (bless him). It fell on deaf ears at first as a some what opinionated 23 year old, however the idea grew on me when I heard about Phillipe Stark.
Some years later after I returned from Milan I had some difficulty getting a job as an industrial designer in Australia, the most common response was "over qualified". (Still, don't understand what that means)
I decided to go it alone and pursued my love of all things recycled. I made some light fixtures that were a bit cheeky out of kitchen utensils and chopsticks and had an exhibition called 'Sleeping on the streets'. A piece was bought by someone and seen by the late great Geoffrey Mance (bless him too). He said come and make lights for me and I said .......err ok.
I really enjoyed the freedom of his studio and met Dean Phillips who became a great friend and whom I later worked for as production and development manager.
What is the trickiest part of designing a beautiful light fitting
Making it look effortless and staying inside compliance!
The grandest location one of your lights is hanging in?
I have been lucky enough to have some great locations but for sheer opulence, it would have to be a 15m long fixture in an $11m private residence in Ivanhoe.
The most modest/simplest location of one of your designs
A fixture made of teaspoons hanging over my soldering bench. (see above)
Greatest frustration as a lighting designer?
People think about lighting at the very end of a project and always expect custom pieces to take 1 week.
'I love it when a project comes togeather' on time on budget and with masses of creative content, the client tears up with joy at seeing it for the first time and light allowed to show its inner beauty.
Thinking about light – do you have a favourite effect that either you or light in general creates?
I really love the effect of light around water, the change in density between air and water creates an intricate game of guess what is next and also the magic pattern moving water creates in reflection i.e. Light reflected from a swimming pool against a wall for example.
Who would you most like to collaborate with to design/build a light
Achille Castiglioni and Ingo Maurer
Where would you most like to see your work hanging
Anywhere it is given the chance to make a connection with someone.
MoMa would also be nice....
Discover more about Jan on his website - www.janflooklighting.com