The Dwell 24: Lana Launay

When the Australian designer couldn’t find lighting that suited her needs, she took matters into her own hands.

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For lighting designer Lana Launay, the seed for her practice was planted in childhood. Her father, a composer with a taste for mood lighting, constantly commissioned lamps for their home—he worked with fabricators to make shades from textiles and metals. After moving back to Sydney from New York City during the pandemic and leaving her jewelry design career behind, Launay started making her own lampshades, following her father’s footsteps because there was nothing on the market that excited her. 

"I had all these incredible lamp bases that I had bought overseas, and I never really found a lampshade that I loved," Launay says. She got attention on Instagram, and orders from design stores started to come in. Launay currently works with clients on a made-to-order basis, since keeping a low impact on the earth is one of her core values: The metals are salvaged and then reworked by a welder friend, and the textiles are plant-based and biodegradable. "When you purchase something, you want it to last your lifetime, but you don’t want it to last the earth’s lifetime."

Courtesy Lana Launay

Read the full Q&A with Lana Launay below.

Hometown: Sydney, Australia and LA, California

Describe what you make in 140 characters... I design and build sculptural lighting using artisanal and experimental methods.

What's the last thing you designed? A 5-piece modular floor lamp.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? Every morning I make a filter coffee and exercise, the release of energy leaves me with a calm mind to be creative and focused.

How do you procrastinate? Online browsing for things I can’t afford, adding them to cart and then closing the tab. I'm a dreamer.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? I currently feel quite satisfied with all my surrounding objects and have accepted their flaws.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? Simone Leigh, Eileen Gray, Gae Aulenti, Getano Pesce, Carlo Mollino, Perriand, Noguchi of course - it's a long list and my heroes in life may be longer.

What skill would you most like to learn? Balance.

What is your most treasured possession? My imagination.

What’s your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Visiting Seville as a child.

What contemporary design trend do you despise? Monochromatic tile-covered furniture.

Finish this statement: All design should... Encourage wonder.

What’s in your dream house? Handmade pendants hung from high ceilings, wooden accents, soft furnishings in warm tones, natural light, an agate kitchen bench, animals, laughter, music, dancing and unconditional love.

How can the design world be more inclusive? Through education, nurture and more funding in the arts.

What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? Ethical production is worth investing in, good design takes time and exposure isn't always a fair trade for labour.

You can learn more about Lana Launay on Instagram.

View the 2023 Dwell 24!

Top Image: Courtesy Lana Launay

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