Metal Workers & Engineers
Metal workers and engineers across Britain are employed in the production of many Soane designs, from tables and shelving to lighting and mirrors. Small and typically family-owned workshops, each with their own specialisations – casting, engineering, fabricating, machining, finishing and plating metal – combine traditional and cutting edge techniques for the best results.
In particular, Soane’s lighting designs require the skills of several craftsmen, from precision engineers in East Sussex, expert at making designs with moving parts such as The Double Rise and Fall Light, to fabricators that meticulously ‘fit and finish’ components in South Yorkshire. Silversmiths in Sheffield are renowned for their fine craftsmanship, fostered over the years by a tradition of guilds and apprenticeships. For the past 25 years, Soane has collaborated with the same family of silversmiths, who work with sheet metal on designs such as The Owl Lantern. Their particular skills are so rare that they must be handed on through the generations, or else be lost for ever.
The Owl Lantern
The Owl Lantern’s sheet brass ‘feathers’ are individually cut and beaten by hand into curved shapes, creating a finish that produces beautifully soft reflections. The Monumental Owl Lantern has approximately 300 feathers which take two skilled people a week to make. Each feather is then silver soldered to an inner brass frame, leaving teardrop openings for light to emerge from its radiant core.
The finished lantern is magnificently sculptural with no two lanterns being identical. Its individual characteristics, rooted in the process of traditional making, are the source of much of its distinctive appeal.