Bert & May x Skinflint
By Zoe Crook
Aug 10, 2018
We are so excited to be collaborating with vintage lighting experts skinflint. We will be hosting a pop up showcasing skinflint’s excellent selection of reclaimed and heritage lights in both of our London showrooms from next week.
Skinflint source and restore reclaimed lighting found throughout Europe and further afield. They share our passion for salvage and industrial design so a collaboration with them made complete sense. A few months ago we got chatting with skinflint and we instantly had a connection and knew we wanted to collaborate in some way. We love working with like-minded brands and any opportunity to add more elements to our showrooms is most welcome!
As they are based in Cornwall skinflint and their products are usually only available to view in their showroom or online we thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase their lighting in London. So a curated collection is coming from the rugged Cornwall coast to both East and West London.
In our East London showroom there will be a curated collection of pendant lighting and both showrooms will have one off pieces, floor and bulkhead lights. These will be available to purchase from both showrooms. Many of the lights are unique, from 1950s British pendants to elegant glass pendants, to railway signal floor lamps. Pop in to browse for a statement piece for your scheme.
To celebrate the collaboration and to introduce them to you we thought we’d ask Sophie, co-founder of skinflint a few questions;
- Where did your passion for reclaimed lights begin?
We have both always been interested in vintage treasures - as an art student in London I’d spend many a Sunday morning scouring my local market at Camden Lock for interesting objects for my flat - then later working as an art director and stylist I’d spend my days hunting through salvage yards and prop houses for beautiful props to fill sets. Our London flat was furnished with vintage finds, and the lights just formed part of our aesthetic. We both also had a longstanding passion for industrial architecture, so the step into sourcing and reclaiming industrial lighting from sites that were no longer in use was a natural progression for both of us.
- When sourcing items are there particular features you look out for?
Quality and excellent design are the enduring characteristics we look for in every light we restore. Lights from the eras we salvage from were built in the days before planned obsolescence was invented, so the designs we work with were built to last and this shows in their beautiful over-engineered design. Another feature of skinflint lighting is elegant simplicity, all our lights have a timeless quality and aesthetic that stands the test of time.
- How does the restoration process work?
Every light we salvage is assessed on arrival and then goes through its own individual processes depending on requirements. To restore we use a wide variety of eco-friendly processes: from soda and aqua-blasting to strip away layers of paint and grime, to polishing and lacquering to bring out textures and to seal the lights’ surface. The lights are then fully refurbished with all the outdated electrical wiring removed, this is replaced with efficient modern environmentally friendly components, giving our customers a reliable light that will work for years to come.
- We love how every light you sell has a story, how hard is it to gather this information?
It’s definitely time consuming, but also very worthwhile. We love piecing together the jigsaw that makes up the puzzle of each light’s story. Some of our pieces arrive with lots of obvious narrative, especially those from a single site - like the Rolls Royce Collection or the lights we salvaged from Cockenzie power station - others require more digging to uncover their histories. We are also constantly building our library of lighting catalogues and related literature - it sounds geeky I know, but it’s such a wonderful resource. We have original lighting catalogues from the 1920s and can see all the original specifications from installation guides to original prices.
- Have you ever thought of adding other reclaimed pieces to your collection?
We are often asked this but in short, no. We took the decision early on to focus on doing one thing well - also there are so many thousands of lights and variations in design we are still discovering new styles even now after doing this for years. We have always trusted our instincts and worked with lights we love rather than following trends.
Sophie and Chris Miller, co-founders of skinflint
Go over to skinflint’s blog to read an interview with Lee, our founder. Read skinflint Blog >
Visit the Skinflint x Bert & May pop-ups at 67 Vyner Street, London, E2 9DQ and 48 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0QD until mid October.
skinflint will be in our East London showroom (Vyner st) on Monday 17th September from 2pm to 5pm for a "Meet the experts" session. Pop in to ask any questions or just for a chat about their beautiful products.
See skinflint's Lighting collection >