Fun and fine craftsmanship are the prevailing attributes of the work of Daniel Reynolds. From delicate porcelain lights cast from cabbages for a restaurant in Peckham to three large kinetic sculptures that “react to the breeze and the changing light” in the conservatory of Kit Kemp’s Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, bespoke commissions are key to the Camberwell-based artist’s practice. “Each piece emerges in a different way with the input of the client; they’re influenced by the characteristics and history of the space for which they are designed,” says Reynolds, who has created site-specific pieces for Ian McKellen, Kemp’s Crosby Street and Whitby Hotels in New York, as well as an impressive installation of 60 lights for Vie Montagne, a restaurant and private members’ club in Verbier.
“Until I was nine, I lived in Caracas, where an important part of the visual language was the work of kinetic artist Jesus Soto,” explains Reynolds, who also cites Alexander Calder and Victor Vasarely as influences for his kinetic sculptures and abstract lighting in materials such as porcelain, hand-fused glass and wood. “His mobiles have a supremely calming effect,” says Debra Finn, co-founder of Devon/London gallery Cavaliero Finn, which represents Reynolds. “They are very poetic in their movement.” For these pieces – an example of which hung in the glorious Wiltshire setting of the New Art Centre’s recently opened Design House – the commissioning process begins with a site visit and a discussion about materials, colours, shapes and the “desired feel of the piece”. After initial drawings are approved by the client, the kinetic sculpture (£8,000-£21,000) takes around 10 weeks to complete.
Reynolds’ bespoke ceiling lights (from £500), meanwhile, tend to transform everyday objects into translucent porcelain. He first makes a plaster mould of the chosen object, be it a stack of books, a vegetable or a vintage coffee percolator, before using porcelain slip to hand-cast each piece. “Every one is slightly different despite coming from a mould,” adds Reynolds. “They are cut differently and shaped at will by the kiln firings.” A single light can be delivered in around four weeks.