Shane Holland

By Ruth Kennelly

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Forma Interiors Magazine, Volume 5 Issue 1

Shane Holland has been an inspiring figure in Lighting Design and Irish Manufacturing for more than a decade now so before he begins his impending decampment to Co Meath we caught up with him in his North Dublin City Workshop.

I can’t stand a naked light bulb any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action” bruited the character Blanche du Bois in Tennessee William’s “A Street Car Named Desire”. With this in mind I made a visit to the gorgeous, if slightly decrepit old building on North Great Georges Street that houses Shane Holland’s Workshop.

From the outset it was clear that this was no ordinary lighting showroom. Although Shane’s creativity is anchored firmly in traditional crafts – specifically metalwork – his use of acrylic mosaic, silicones and epoxy resin is making him one of Ireland’s leading figures in contemporary lighting design.

“each piece is unique, the client is buying a piece of Shane Holland design but they are also buying an individual piece of art”

The use of traditional crafts is a topical issue at present because many of the trades on which Shane’s designs are based are dying out. This is mainly due to the fact that, as with most western manufactures, lighting companies are now sourcing components in the Far East along with numerous aspects in the production process. While Shane strives to manufacture all of his components in Ireland he remains very aware that “when you employ people with design degrees you can’t expect them to shape metal all day”.

Designing and manufacturing at their Dublin base ensures that collaboration with the client is possible at every level of the process, which is as Shane states “what’s most important, people don’t want a designer telling them what to do”. Citing the recent fit out of the David Marshall salon on Dawson’s Street as a perfect example, Shane explains how working closely with the Interior architect Ulla Enkvist and the client was key to achieving the successful end product, “keep the clients happy, it’s the only way forward”.

Shane’s holistic approach to his trade is also apparent in his approach to the environmental side of production. He considers it the designer’s responsibility to use energy efficiently, produce recyclable products, and use alternative energy where feasible. One example where this ethos is born out is in his ‘tree light’. In this piece recycled Teflon – a familiar feature of non-stick cookware – is employed because it can withstand the high temperatures created by the halogen bulbs. On a similar vein Shane sourced cold cathode lamps with a life span of 50,000 hours from the UK so that lights in display cabinets in the David Marshall Salon could be left on all night.

In his vast portfolio Shane has many iconic pieces, such as his unique steel and glass ‘Porthole light’, which won Best Interior design product at Plan Expo 1999, and the more recently created ‘Space Pendant’ Fitting.

“As the glass on the Porthole Light is hand cast, the glass artist provides a layered and varied pattern to the pieces, those layers are then illuminated from behind so absolutely each piece is unique, the client is buying a piece of Shane Holland design but they are also buying an individual piece of art.”

Created from stainless steel and aluminium the form of Shane’s ‘Space Pendant’ emulates that of a space station with a central core, which in this case houses the transformer and radiating arms of Xenon strip lighting, a low voltage linear light source that provides uninterrupted illumination in a very discreet lamp.

In such a competitive European market Shane is confident that to “focus on your work and market it well” is the best method of securing challenging design led contracts. However, with an aim “to offer the best service in the country and internationally” Shane has his sights firmly fixed on a successful future. Here’s one award-winning designer that Blanche du Bois would be very happy with!

Website: Shane Holland Design Workshops

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