Gabriel Scott: One-of-a-Kind Timeless Design
As Gabriel Scott expands opportunities worldwide, the brand seizes momentum as they open their second showroom in October 2019 in the lush area of Mayfair, London. Less than a decade after they launched their now-iconic lighting and furniture company, curious minds want to know what inspires the two architects-turned-entrepreneurs, Gabriel Scott and Scott Richler, in their innovative design process and how their creativity continues to spark prosperous new ventures at every turn.
How did Gabriel Scott all begin?
We had been working together creating custom furniture for local customers. Although it was lucrative, the process was very labour-intensive, so in reaction to that, we wanted to create a collection based on bespoke models we had designed, but through a more standardized process. The Kelly chandelier was dramatic and sculptural and lent itself to that versatility, but only allowed for limited customization. The following year, we designed a system that allowed much more flexibility and creativity. That’s how the Welles was conceived. The Welles is the foundational piece that Gabriel Scott is known for today, it’s our signature piece.
Each collection is reminiscent of jewelry. How do you see the connection between lighting and jewelry?
Jewelry is the most natural reference for our work because lighting, like jewelry, is a statement piece; the accessory that plays off other elements, elevates a look, and really makes everything come together. From a design perspective, a lighting fixture is unlike any other element in the room. It hangs unobstructed from the ceiling, so the eye naturally goes toward the sparkle. Jewelry has always been part of our vocabulary. The Harlow, for example, is intimately tied to a timepiece making the reference so natural.
You’ve designed some spectacular pieces for several high-end, world-renown brands. What does the design process look like?
You know, the process varies depending on the brand we are collaborating with. We’ve designed many pieces for the Cartier stores all over the world, and we can really get creative because each store has different design elements that work as our frame of reference from size and shape to colour and application. Getting a chance to be creative and collaborate on the iconic windows for Bergdorf Goodman is where we can create a complete mise-en-scene and that’s a totally different experience from a design perspective.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
That’s a tricky question. The obvious reference is jewelry. But, the real answer is that although there are creative components to our design process, we work within certain parameters contained within a market. Gabriel Scott is built on a few basic premises: timeless design, built smart, good value, clever engineering, and made local. Our values and point of view is what drives our inspiration.
When you visit exhibits and fairs, how do you set yourself apart from the hundreds of other designers that show their work?
That’s a great question. In the design industry, your context is just as important as you product. We present at the Milan Design fair every year, and this year we created an entire structure prompting a voyeuristic effect for passers-by compounded by a warm and inviting space for those who chose to enter the space. Everything from openings to colour scheme was thought out and engineered to create a mood. In order to understand our lighting fixtures, you need scale and context. We fused soft materials, like rugs and curtains, with sharp brass trimming. It was very impactful and extremely immersive. Everything was set in place to lure people in and create an experience from the moment they walked by to the time they spent in our space.
The showroom in SoHo, NYC has been around for five years. What was the thought process behind opening a second showroom in Mayfair, London?
The strategy was to respond to our business coming from Europe and the Middle East. Now we are spread across two continents and that just made more sense. Our showroom in London is located between the iconic Saville Row and New Bond Street; it is prime location for our clientele.
What would be a dream project for Gabriel Scott?
Perhaps more meaningful collaborations. It would be really interesting to work with designers in fashion and art world. Creating an experience which goes beyond the product itself. We would love to immerse ourselves into something that would extend past simply the functional aspect of great design, allowing our sculptures to live as an experience.
Text: Alecs Kakon