Spotlight on Crepuscule: the science behind beautiful lighting
Our love affair with Crepuscule began, unsurprisingly, in the city of love. Twice a year, thousands of designers descend on Paris to attend the Maison & Objet trade fair for interior design. And this January, we were there.
It can be hard for exhibitors to stand out at such large events. However, like moths to a bulb, we were drawn towards the lights of Théophile Michel. His creations mix industrial materials with shapes that hint towards Art Deco – whilst also imitating aspects of the natural world. The ability to create something that borders all three of these design realms sounds impossible. But with his collection, Crepuscule, meaning ‘twilight’, Théophile has triumphed. He’s created something truly unique.
Each light is tailored to its recipient. Meaning we were able to commission the perfect piece for our Curtain Road show flat (pictured close up above/in situ below). After receiving such a personal service, we wanted to get to know the man behind the lamps.
Where it all began
At the age of thirteen, Théophile had a passion for engineering and mechanics and so began making lights. After forming each design in his head, he got a thrill from spending a few hours of labour creating something that was not only useful but also very similar to what he’d imagined. He could give body to his visualisations. Théophile was determined to experiment but as a young teenager, he didn’t have a space of his own to do so. Luckily, after coming to an agreement with his neighbour, Théophile was allowed to use his workshop whenever it was free. But that was often only at nighttime and so Théophile would have to sneak through the dark without waking anybody up.
His bright materials
Théophile’s favoured materials are steel, wood and glass (hence his website address: steelwoodandglass.com). He sees them as close to nature and the fundamentals of our civilisation in terms of materials. His entire collection is 100% vegan and as Green as Théophile can possibly make it.
Rather than creating lampshades as we know them, he creates cascades of glass pipettes that resemble icicles, ribbons, rain showers or even the transparent tentacles of jellyfish.
Théophile told us “I chose to incorporate glass pipettes into my chandelier collection because of its relative robustness, its delicacy. It looks very industrial to me. But also very animal-like with its natural shape and transparency. The medical quality of glass used to make Pasteur pipettes and the design of this clinical tool looks fantastic to me when the light shines through.”
He first discovered pipettes in his biology class at school and knew instantly that he wanted to use them. He hoped people would be able to see them in the same way that he did.
You’ll be pleased to know that Théophile no longer has to stealthily create in his neighbour’s workshop. He spends each morning in his office working on admin such as his website, talking to customers and creating design drawings. And then in the afternoon, he retreats to his workshop situated in the countryside of Normandy.
Théophile is completely self-taught, making every item with his hands (only turning to laser-cut and water-cut machines for bigger collections). He says: “Fortunately, I am not worried about doing my things over and over until I am happy about my work and the finish […] I had the chance to spend a day in the Hermes workshop in Paris when I was twelve. That very day I discovered what quality meant.”
His pieces remind us of the magic of electricity. The ethereal, untouchable nature of it. And this is why it was remarkable to find out that Théophile does not see himself as an artist, but instead defines himself firstly as a maker of useful creations. However, he did note that secondly, the product must be as aesthetically-pleasing as it can be. Théophile believes that “humans need something to help them to dream, something that makes them smile, something that allows the mind to wander free for a little while. I’m trying to make those products.”
Visit steelwoodandglass.com to see his beautiful collection.
And take a look here at our development on Curtain Road. The dining room is lucky enough to house the Suspension _968.