DCW Éditions: good design relates to our memories and experiences
During 3 Days of Design, we met the French brand DCW Éditions. It was an opportunity to find out more about their fantastic lamps.
It is not easy to innovate in the world of lighting, new products are often ‘reduced’ to new decorative takes, few are able to add a real twist to their designs.
This is where technology, now accessible and cleared by the public, can help. Clearly, technology without a correct interpretation of the designer does not have much to offer in terms of experience and emotions.
From our point of view, this is where DCW Éditions‘ ability lies: knowing how to give a distinctive personality to their products, offering new perspectives and multi-sensory experiences to the end user.
After 3 Days of Design (see our highlights here), we asked Thomas Randon, CEO of the company, a few questions to get a deeper understanding of their approach to design and business.
What is the spirit with which DCW Éditions fits into the world of Scandinavian design? What aspects of the brand and its products respond to the local markets?
Starting with the reedition of Lampe Gras and the launch of DCW Éditions as a company, Scandinavian consumers have responded well to our lighting objects and the Nordic countries have consistently been our second market in terms of sales after France.
Japan is another market with a strong design culture where we have done very well.
It’s difficult to explain exactly why, but we have some hypotheses.
First of all, there is a deeply rooted culture of good design in Scandinavia.
People appreciate good form and function, design details that add value and are not gratuitous, they value objects that will stand the test of time and can be transmitted to the next generation, even if it means paying a higher purchase price than cheap knock-offs.
Everything we do demonstrates these values too.
Scandinavians also have a special appreciation for good warm light that brings people together and create conviviality, which is exactly what we strive to create with each of our lamps.
The light our objects create is quite unique and resonates with our clients.
DCWéditions encompasses various collaborations: each of them has a twist and specificity, but, at the same time, the imprint of each design studio is evident and strong. How does the design studio selection process take place and how do you keep an image consistent with the brand?
We always partner with outside designers to conceive our objects and it’s true that each one brings their own sensitivity to the table.
Over the years, we have developed a good gut feeling for what is a DCW Éditions object and what is not.
We constantly receive design submissions from designers we have known for years and others we haven’t yet worked with, and we only publish a fraction of these submissions for this reason.
In some cases, we have even recommended that certain designers produce a lamp with a competitor because we felt it would be a better fit for them than us.
For the lamps we do publish, we tend to be uncompromising on the design details.
While other brands will tend to simplify and smoothen the design to lower costs, we like the little details that make you want to touch and manipulate the object.
It’s a multi-sensory experience for us.
There is usually something in the design that resonates emotionally with something we each have lived in the past and is translated into timeless design with future-looking technology.
Focus, our pendant launched earlier this year is a good example of this: the design is inspired by soap bubbles floating in the air, which is always something that stops people in their tracks whether they are 5 or 60 years old.
Finally, we tend to publish objects that do not respond to the fashion of the day but are meant to last for years, ideally to be transmitted to the next generation.
What is the message that DCW Éditions wants to bring to the market, given the large number of brands that make lighting? How does it stand out or do you want to differentiate yourself more?
When DCW Éditions develops products, we are not thinking about what people need or what is missing on the market.
In that sense, we don’t care about the market. We are not surfing waves. We are creating waves.
It may sound pretentious, but we don’t think it is.
We consider that there are already too many lamps on the market, with many good ones already created in the past.
So why do we continue to publish new lighting objects? It comes from our unlimited desire to tell stories, to open our minds to a new territory.
In the near future, for instance, we will launch a series of wall lamps named SOUL (Souvenir of United Lebanon).
This project started 8 years ago when designer Charles Kalpakian and DCW Éditions founder Frederic Winkler met in London and started talking about magic in their youth, Charles in Beyrouth, Fred in the French countryside new Lyon.
They talked about their freedom and their ability to disobey their respective mothers they each loved.
The lamps convey the feeling Charles had running in the small streets of his hometown at sunset… When people have seen the objects in our showroom in the past few weeks, their own memories of childhood come back.
When someone sees them, they might remember their own mother telling them: darling don’t forget your sweater, it will be cold later.
DCW Éditions is not talking to people who are attracted by products.
We are engaging a conversation with people who are sharing the same conviction: life on earth is unique.
Don’t lose time buying stuff, take your time designing your life.
And some objects (not products) are companions to designing your life.
They are part of the experience and the process.
How to differentiate from other brands?
DCW Éditions is not great at promoting our brand name, because we see it only as a conduit to creating objects which are the heroes: well conceived, well designed and well made.
Babies are born from love, not from a calculation. It is similar for us when we create objects.
What DCW Éditions makes is clearly not for everyone.
Design tends to be a packaged product with a short shelf live these days.
We approach our work in the spirit of the creators who have made iconic pieces that stand the test of time.
It’s the reason why we admire some companies like Flos, David & Groggy, Ingo Maurer, Gubi and aspire to be in their company.