Tala is an innovative young British lighting brand sophisticatedly bridging the gap between design and sustainability. They cleverly combine exquisite industrial and nature-inspired lighting with pioneering low carbon and LED technology. With a brand new install in our Barnsbury store, we wanted to find out more about this innovative brand paving the way in the British lighting scene, so we caught up with Design Director Joe Armitage to find out about all things Tala.
Hi Joe, nice to meet you. Could you tell us a little bit about what an average day looks like in your shoes at Tala?
Every day is completely varied! I can be doing everything from meeting suppliers and attending photo shoots, through to installing exhibitions and designing retail displays. I’m also designing at different scales which keeps things interesting. One minute I’m working on LED chip arrangements and the next I’m envisaging large-scale installations for events such as London Design Festival.
We love the vintage-industrial style of Tala bulbs, could you tell us a bit about what inspires the design of the bulb? What is it about a Tala bulb that makes it so unique?
Although we started out with a focus on the vintage-industrial style that Edison made famous, we have since evolved our designs to also cater for a much more contemporary style, inspired by the latest trends in design and fashion.
With LED technology nowadays there are so many design challenges we can explore. Longer lifetimes mean light bulbs are no longer disposable items, which for us is an opportunity to re-think their design and re-imagine what they look and feel like. A Tala bulb is unique because we have an uncompromising focus on design and sustainability. We create beautiful LED products that last 15 times longer than a traditional bulb.
The Design Process
Is there a certain style that you prefer? Do you use them in your own home?
My favourite product pairing is the Oak Knuckle Touch Lamp with the Voronoi I bulb. It’s also my dream to have a cluster of Voronoi lights suspended from my hallway ceiling one day, as well a row of Porcelain bulbs hung above my kitchen countertop.
This type of bulb design is completely new to us. Would you be able to tell us briefly about the design process of making one of your bulbs from the drawing board until you’re flicking on the on-switch? What kind of challenges do you face?
We get our inspiration from a variety of places – from fashion and furniture design through to the unique mathematical patterns found in nature. We first approach the design process by determining where the product should sit on the scale between decorative and functional. From there, we establish the required light output and sketch some design concepts which we bring to life with 3D models and prints. After further tweaking and refining, we will be ready to manufacture and launch to market! Our challenges tend to be engineering-related as we are always pushing the boundaries of LED technology.
We’ve been reading a bit about your Ten Trees programme. Planting ten trees for every 200 products sold is such a fantastic idea, how has it been going so far?
Really well, thanks for asking! We are on track to have planted 30,000 trees in the U.K. by spring 2018, with a further 15,000 in the U.S.A. It’s really important to us that our business is carbon-neutral on the whole and our Ten Trees programme is a great way to effectuate our company promise of ‘Conservation Through Beauty’.
You’re now working with a forest charity in the UK and across the pond in the USA, where would be the next place you’d like to partner with?
Our programmes in the U.K. and U.S.A. are still very much our focus for now as there is still a lot of work to be done. However, never say never to other regions in the future as we are now established in 11 countries around the world and the dream would be to see a global roll-out of the Ten Trees programme, particularly in the areas that would benefit from it the most.
We’re very excited to see Tala come to Aria in the new installation and you’ve recently collaborated with one of our favourite London hot spots, ‘Sketch’. With London design festival is just around the corner; do you have any more upcoming projects our customers should watch out for?
Aside from our installation at Aria which has just launched, our most exciting, upcoming project is our plan for this year’s London Design Festival. We are partnering with furniture manufacturer and retailer, SCP, on a one-day immersive furniture and lighting exhibition in Shoreditch, where we will be launching the world’s largest sculptural bulb – the Voronoi III. We will also be unveiling our BLOCK installation – a 30 metre long introspective, mirrored lighting display that will respond to the movements of those who come into contact with it.
And finally, what is your greatest personal achievement?
I think my greatest personal achievement is less about me and more about what the Tala team has managed to achieve in just less than three years. To see how far we have come from where we started out is something we should all be proud of, and I’m just looking forward to what comes next!