The Interview: Will Chelsom of Chelsom lighting

We interview Will Chelsom, director of designer lighting brand, Chelsom, to find out more about the brand's impressive 65 year history.

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The Interview

When putting together your home there are many elements to consider and one that is crucial, but often overlooked, is the lighting scheme. To ensure you have plenty of inspirational pieces to choose from, we work with some of the finest designer lighting brands in the world. With over 65 years of experience in the lighting industry, working with some of the most prestigious hotels, one such brand is Chelsom.

We caught up with one of Chelsom’s Directors, Will Chelsom, to find out more about this luxury lighting brand…

Q: Where did it all begin for Chelsom?

A: Chelsom was founded by my grandfather back in 1947 and was based in Blackpool. At that time he had a shop called The Golden Age which sold original period and antique lighting and furniture. That was back in Blackpool’s glory days, it really was the Golden Age and it was a very classy seaside resort. The company developed quickly from selling antiques and original pieces to importing reproduction items, predominantly onyx tables. We were supplying companies such as Harrods and Laura Ashley so our roots are very much embedded in the retail sector. Over the last 30 years, we’ve become a bit more focused on the contract sector and a lot more focused on lighting.

Will Chelsom interview - Chelsom Artichoke Pendant light

Q: When did you join the family business?

A: I joined the team in 2007 but I guess I’ve been part of the company my whole life! I worked in a completely separate industry for a couple of years but I had a great interest in the products and I knew from an early age that I wanted to join the business. I look at new markets to explore and take care of key accounts. I also oversee the marine side of our business as we supply a lot of our designer lighting products to the cruise ship sector. As well as that, I shadow what my father, Robert Chelsom, does and help him with the design of products. He and I build the new collections and produce a new catalogue every two years.

Q: You must have quite a passion for interior design?

A: The more I become immersed in interior design, the more my love for it grows. I have a passion for hotels and for luxury interiors and my wife is an interior designer too so I literally live and breathe it throughout my whole life!

Will Chelsom Exclusive Interview - Chelsom Glass Art Stripe Lamp

Design is very much at the forefront of everything Chelsom does and my father and I try our best to make new steps forward with design all the time. We have to continuously reinvent our range and that’s a real challenge if you don’t have a passion for design. We have to find the perfect blend of quality and interesting design and I’d say that’s the core ethos for us.

Q: Do you have a personal favourite piece of Chelsom designer lighting?

A: That’s a tough question! Personally, I’m a big fan of the more sculptural pieces that feature modern castings and polished nickel and bronze finishes. However, although my style and taste is contemporary, I can’t deny that I love some of the pieces that have been in our ranges for more than 50 or 60 years like the classic period chandeliers and lanterns.

Will Chelsom Exclusive Interview - Chelsom Silver Sculpture 6

Q: How has the evolution of technology impacted on the lighting design process?

A: Technology is becoming more and more important to the design process, it’s forever changing with lighting and you have to be current. At the moment we are integrating LED systems into the products. We’ve integrated LED light sources into pieces that you perhaps wouldn’t have expected to find them in, so I think that’s going to be quite impressive.

Will Chelsom Exclusive Interview - USB lamp collection

Q: How important are lighting schemes to interior design?

A: Back when I joined the business, lighting was often an afterthought. Many people would build their design scheme around the soft furnishings and fabrics but lighting wasn’t really thought about, but lighting completely transforms an interior! If you over-egg your lighting and have too much, you create a very harsh environment, but if you have it too low, the whole interior design is lost - you’ve got to get the balance right. I wouldn’t say lighting is more important than other parts of interior design but I certainly think that it brings the other aspects together.

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