Luxury glassware and lighting designer and manufacturer Nicola Schellander has unveiled a new collection of bespoke hand-blown and hand-cast glass lighting and interior accessories.
Nicola, a multi-award-winning designer, draws on her years of experience in both the glass and crystal industries to create her unique, elegant designs including lights and chandeliers.
Inspired by a gap in the UK’s lighting market – which in the main relies on mass-produced imports – Nicola uses the finest craftsmanship to produce exquisite hand-sculpted designs which are customisable to the buyer’s own specifications.
Nicola said: “Perhaps contrary to popular belief, you can do anything with glass, and I realised this was a real niche.
“It’s a fascinating material. As part of my work I might mould it, cut it or curve it into shapes using a whole range of different implements. I can hand-sculpt and reheat it over and over to tease out different designs each time. The possibilities are endless.”
She added: “With the vast majority of lights in the UK they appear the same from every angle. I create my designs, so they give a different perspective from different angles. Each one is handmade rather than manufactured from moulds, to give them their uniqueness.”
Nicola counts interior designers and private buyers among her clients and says much of her enjoyment comes from demonstrating to them just how fluid glass can be.
She said: “Sometimes the fluidity of glass can be a real revelation to customers. So, when they first come to me they might be limited in their idea of what they want from me. In general, the majority might have an idea for a moulded design as generally that is what they have always been used to seeing.
“But when I talk to them about all the other techniques I can use and the styles I can create they get really excited. It’s a great part of the process as this is when the ideas between us come alive. They really can get involved in the design process – even if they don’t have any idea what they want we can start from scratch. We might use a mood board and work on a brief together before I put some ideas together for them to see.”
Nicola’s lights are designed for kitchen counters, kitchen islands, dining tables and restaurants and are also ideal as a cascade in a stairwell or a hallway. She is also collaborating with a company to work on adapting the designs for bathrooms which is an emerging trend. The designs can then be made to IP45 bathroom lights standards.
The unique collection is available in 18 different colours, with 14 different flex colour options, but Nicola said she can also mix and match colours and create new colours to order.
Her creations are designed so that customers can choose to hang them on their own or in twos or threes or more. They can be mixed with different shapes, sizes or different colours, or can hang from different heights, for a more dramatic effect.
“I find that more and more of my clients are looking for customisable goods,” Nicola said.
“The majority of customers today want to know they’ve played a part in designing their home. I design my products so they can personalise them. They can stack and change, choose their own colours, there’s a lot they can do so whatever it is they decide to buy for their home they have a real input and can put their own stamp on the design.”
Nicola’s passion for glass and crystal stemmed from an early age when she first visited a glass exhibition in London. Today she prides herself on her varied techniques and her attempts to continue pushing the boundaries, combining more traditional handcrafting methods with industrial processes to produce exquisite, contemporary designs.
Working across a number of manufacturing disciplines including glass blowing, casting, pressing, moulding and cutting, her broad offering and unique style has helped Nicola establish herself among countless high-end brands across the world.
Tiffany & Co, Harrods, Laura Ashley, John Lewis and House of Fraser are among the many who have bought into her designs. Indeed, she once designed a signature collection for John Lewis.
After achieving BA (Hons) in Three-Dimensional Design at the University of Wolverhampton Nicola was offered a scholarship by the university and went on to study for an MA in Art and Design, for which she was awarded distinction.
Over the years she worked with Edinburgh Crystal as Head of Design, Royal Brierley Crystal as Design Consultant and Senior Designer at Dartington Crystal, before moving into consultancy in 2007 and business and enterprise training in the crystal industry in 2013 – two roles she still fulfils today.
Throughout her career Nicola has worked out of other studios and factories which she says has also given her a broad perspective and in turn her unique offering.
She recently celebrated the opening of her own studio near her north Devon home allowing her to take her offering to the next level and deliver an even greater personal experience to her customers.