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Thursday, June 18, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jake Dyson, Inventor of Motorlight and Jake Dyson limited

Jake Dyson first dipped his toe into the world of design at the age of 14, when one of his fathers employees taught him the skill of using a mill and a lathe. After a foundation course at Filton College in Bristol, where Jake was one of two students from a class of 60 that were accepted onto a university course, Jake studied Industrial Design at the prestigious Central St Martins College of Art and Design.

When he graduated in 1994, Jake gained invaluable experience designing interiors for two high profile designers, and was responsible for the interiors for an array of shops, cafes and a club. As well as giving him an invaluable insight when designing products for interiors, Jake acquired technical skills such as the art of injection moulding. A few years later, Jake set up his own workshop in Wandsworth, South London, and purchased a mill and a lathe and started experimenting.

Nicknamed ‘digital’, Jake has always been enthralled by the mechanics behind good design. Realising that he still had much to learn, Jake moved away from designing interiors, and into a manufacturer to acquire hands-on knowledge of the process of designing and manufacturing a product from start to finish.

After two years, Jake returned to his workshop and put his know-how into action, spending over two years designing a revolutionary ceiling fan. The design posed a huge challenge of physics, and so Jake called in the mathematical brain of John Whitehurst, inventor of the first programmable washing machine and Jake’s mentor.

In 2004, Jake established Jake Dyson limited. Based in Crawford Passage, Clerkenwell, the studio has a contemporary and inspiring office space upstairs, and a unique workshop downstairs, where Jake masters an array of machinery. With a hands-on approach, Jake travels the world sourcing the best materials, suppliers, techniques and inspiration for his products.

With his team of designers, Jake took two years to perfect the intricate mechanics and beautiful form of Motorlight. But this is just the beginning, Jake is already developing the second and third generations of Motorlight and a collection of other exciting products.

Peachy Deegan met Jake Dyson during Design Week at Conran in New York, where his work can be purchased, and is so pleased to present him as our latest Mover and Shaker! We are additionally happy to include him in our oveaseas coveage of the London market (Take a Trip to London), for those that embrace the word Whom from the country that started the English language. Please note that Whom You Know may be using the English version, not the American version, of the spelling of certain words such as realize being realise, as that is grammatically correct in the mother country.

Peachy Deegan: What inspired you to pursue interior design?
Jake Dyson: I was an interior designer for 3 years after I graduated in product design in 1994. The English are too conventional with decoration and designing spaces. I wanted to change this and have done so with the Motorlight range. Introducing functional, adjustable lighting through sculptural mechanics to change and enhance environments with lighting.

How do you think you see the world differently as a designer?
I think being a designer makes me more critical about style and more of a perfectionist about everything in my life. I wasn’t so detailed or anal when I was younger. It seems to have developed through the intense drive for perfection on the products I design and engineer. It is so consuming that the other aspects of my life also have to be organized and faultless.

What have you enjoyed designing the most?
I have enjoyed developing and designing the mechanics of my products the most.

What did you think of Manhattan's design week?
Exciting and creative. American people seem to appreciate design more than the British.

How does it compare to other similar events around the world?
Smaller more friendly and exclusive.

What was the story of the evolution of Motorlight?
To develop and introduce angle adjustable up lighting which did not exist for the domestic or commercial lighting market. I decided to use motors within the products as the main drive to operate the focusing mechanism. The motors can be paused to set an exact angle between 8 and 120 degrees. It was only after development that I discovered the mood lighting effect of the motor running continuously through cycle of changing light angles.

Where is Motorlight sold in Manhattan?
The Conran Shop

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Soho & meat packing district.

What is your favorite shop?
For design my favorite shops are Moss and MOMA design store. For clothes my favourite shop is Steve Allen.

What is your favorite drink?
White wine/ French burgundy and Italian Gavi.

What is your favorite restaurant?
At the moment it has to be a Mexican called La Esquina

What is your favorite NYC book?
The Wallpaper guide to New York.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Eat breakfast that fills you up for the whole day. Also being able to eat in a restaurant on your own without feeling self conscious.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
The quality of the food is under rated. The American dream is over rated.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am quite an intense forward person so If you ever meet me and we are having a conversation do not be concerned when I look at your eyes all the time whilst you are talking. It is my way of concentrating and I think it is rude to look elsewhere.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
By email or letter.
Jake Dyson
1 Crawford Passage

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