The designer Claire Requa is into recycling – both in terms of ideas and materials. »Claire de Lune« the lamp is the best example of that
Claire Requa loves second hand shops and flea markets and never leaves a container empty-handed. She supports recycling 100 percent, and has therefore shamelessly reused the basic expression of her baroque chandelier in acrylic, Claire de Lune, again and again. In mirrors, clocks, jewellery, jugs, tables and tapestry. Latest is a series of cushions, coming in the shops in a few weeks.
She never dreamt of becoming an independent designer after the age of 50, but design and arts and crafts has followed her throughout life. She is born in New York, grew up on Jamaica, where she already as teenager created arts and crafts, later on she was educated at Edna Manley School of Art. Back in New York with kids there was no time to design full time, but the talent was kept up with part time textile print and fashion design.
20 years ago Claire moved to Denmark and had a butik in Nørrebro, where she sold some of her own design, including clothing and furniture as well as recycled furniture and lighting. Later on she started to work as graphic designer among other things drawing patterns and illustrations for the shopping bags, used by literally all fashion companies and shops today. In 2003 she got the assignment to create an assemble-self-lamp of poly plastic, and that was the beginning of a carreer as an independent designer.
»I was so fascinated by the material, that I couldn't stop creating some more things of the same material,« Claire Requa explains. »Even though plastic in the beginning was far from my recycling attitude. That is why I spend a lot of time finding the most sustainable plastic, and factories and suppliers working in an environmentally conscious manner.
Originally I intended to design the lamp, give over production and sale to others, and continue with other projects, but that didn't happen. I became in charge of everything and it has been quite a thing, time consuming, but also very educational. I couldn't afford going to China, so I had to find local producers, and I am very pleased with that decision today. Through them I have learned so much about plastics and acrylics and their possibilities, says Claire Requa.
Already, the year of release of her first lamp, she went to the Formland fair in Herning. Later she also exhibited at fairs in Frankfurt and Paris, which she recommends all designers do, though it's expensive.
The next lamps were a series of pendants and table lamps with graphic motives followed by the real break through with the lamp Claire de Lune BIG a chandelier in acrylic. The largest has a diameter of 110 cm.
»It's interesting, that you can take an old-fashioned product and create a completely new one by using a modern material,« Claire explains. »Acrylic marvellously reflects light, like the old crystal chandeliers. I love light, and it probably has something to do with my Jamaican background. When I visit my parents there once a year, I mentally bring back lots of light and colours, giving me energy for the dark winters.«
These days Claire is working on a completely new pattern. The cushions with the Claire de Lune-pattern will be available in a few weeks, and with those she will end the series with the baroque inspired pattern. »I have been so proud of and pleased with the many possibilities of this pattern, that I could hardly retire it. There were constantly new possibilities: Mirrors, clocks, jewellery etc., I do love to recycle, but everything has to have an end,« she says.
The next material to be explored is rubber, amongst other things because it can be manufactured under sustainably approved circumstances, weighs only a little and can be packed (flat) and transported at low cost. What the design will look like, we'll have to wait and see, but it's certain to be something with light.
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