The Interview: Andrew Watson of Heathfield & Co

Andrew Watson, managing director of premier designer lighting brand, Heathfield & Co, gives us the low down on the brand's design inspiration.


The Interview

Since Houseology began, we have been striving to create the finest collections of designer furnishings, homewares and lighting. Many of these pieces come from new, exciting brands but there are also several designers with whom we have been working for many years. One such brand is designer lighting manufacturer, Heathfield & Co. Houseology has developed a close bond with this brand, both featuring the products on the website and using them in many interior design projects too.

Heathfield & Co have an exciting, dynamic approach to creating designer lighting solutions and their pieces are created with both style and performance in mind. We interview the managing director of Heathfield & Co, Andrew Watson, who began the company in 1986, to find out more about the history and ethos of this iconic company.

Q: When did you discover that you had a love for design?

A: Design has always been a field that I have gravitated towards. Before starting Heathfield & Co, I worked for Tektura Wallcoverings and Chelsea Artisans and both of these companies really developed my appreciation for interior and commercial design and, in particular, the use of high quality products and materials. The transition to then establishing Heathfield & Co seemed like a natural progression.

Q: How did Heathfield & Co begin? What did you hope to achieve with the company in the beginning?

A: In the mid-80s I got involved with a small company who specialised in making lampshades for large retail department stores. However, I always knew I wanted it to evolve into a more design-led company and incorporate the design and manufacture of complete designer lighting pieces, rather than exclusively lampshades. With the help of some exceptional designers, and expanding our manufacturing facilities to multiple sites within the UK, we began to really achieve these aims, and so Heathfield & Co was born!

Andrew Watson interview - Heathfield & Co designer table lamps

Q: How would you describe Heathfield & Co’s overall look?

A: ‘Contemporary classic’ is a term that can be used to describe most of our products, although there are certainly a good number of designs that I think sit outside of this style. All our products share the same focus – quality of materials and attention to detail within the manufacturing process.

Q: Where do the design ideas come from?

A: The majority of our product inspiration stems from seminal 20th century design trends including key architectural and design movements, influential artists and sculptors. The Deco movement is one such key design trend for us. Our Bello and Ritz Table Lamps, as well as our Yves Table and Wall Lights and Freiburg Ceiling Lighting all strongly draw upon Deco design. Architectural relevance is apparent in designs such as the Bayern Table Lamps which specifically draws upon the Brutalist architectural movement and features prominently in our latest catalogue, Collection V.

Andrew Watson interview - Heathfield & Co table lamp collection

As well as our strong connection to Mid Century design, we are also fond of looking further afield for varying cultural influences. African design has influenced products such as our Hericus and Bohemia Table Lamps, an Asian aspect can be seen in our Babylon Table Lamp and our popular Medina Ceiling and Wall Lights have an Eastern style.

Timeless influences such as nature are also important considerations for us. Our Pod, Willow and Elamis Table Lamps have all drawn upon fundamental, elegant aspects of nature such as cascading leaves and flowing water.

Q: How has lighting design changed since Heathfield & Co first began?

A: Lighting designs have definitely become more eclectic in their influences. The range of technical possibilities has also dramatically expanded. Environmental LED lighting is being use more frequently as well as more advanced manufacturing techniques and a wider variety of materials. It will be interesting to see what the next big change of the industry will be, 3D printing is certainly something that will come to play a huge role in our development process.

Andrew Watson interview - Heathfield & Co ceiling lights

Q: A lot of Heathfield & Co’s customers are professional interior designers, what do you enjoy about working with them?

A: Above all, their passion. The designers we work with are incredibly dedicated to their profession and the projects they work on. It’s very satisfying when you and your customer both really care about the product. We also love seeing the ways in which our designs are utilised. A product can take on a different feel entirely when used in a different way in a different setting. It is also great to collaborate with interior designers to create bespoke lighting; it enables us to really be part of the design process.

Q: Is there a Heathfield & Co piece that stands out as being your favourite?

A: Our 1950s inspired Caulfield series of table lamps, from the latest catalogue, is a personal favourite. The azure colour option in particular seems to combine a vibrant source of colour whilst also retaining an elegant and understated form.

The Mallory Turquoise Table Lamp also stands out for me. Distressed finishes can be very difficult but it’s a process our manufacturing team consistently do well. Finishing a product in this way also ensures each lamp is unique, really making each one feel like one of a kind.

Q: Why do you think designer lighting is so important when it comes to decorating a room?

A: An interior can be beautifully designed architecturally and furnished incredibly well, but without effective and suitable lighting it will never reach its potential. Lighting has the ability to enhance the rest of the interior whilst simultaneously acting as a focal point in its own right. Effectively, furnishings create the mood, lighting creates the drama.

Andrew Watson interview - Heathfield & Co designer lighting

Q: What do you like about working with Houseology?

A: Having worked in the interiors industry for a long time, it is impressive to see how Houseology has built a fantastic reputation and we are delighted that the site enables us to showcase our products to a wider network of interior designers.

We also have close ties with the design branch of the business with whom we work regularly and are delighted that they have sourced Heathfield & Co products for a range of projects including the Roxburghe Crowne Plaza, Edinburgh and the Doubletree by Hilton Hotels, Dundee.

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