Charles Edwards knows a thing or two about designing lighting for unusual spaces – from yachts to chateaux, palaces to hotels. As owner/designer of his eponymous company – launched in 1992 following a commission from interior designer David Easton to create a copy of an antique lantern – the 70-year-old’s roll call of recent creations is hugely impressive and wonderfully diverse.
These include a replica of a historical chandelier 2.8m tall cast in bronze and hung from the largest of looping chains, an industrial style over-table pendant lamp for Ralph Lauren and a metal-star tiered lantern for a high-ceilinged bedroom.
Edwards’ is a varied eye – his inspiration comes from lights seen in old public buildings, or those found at Portobello market in London or antiques fairs, and he is often given interesting lamps by those that know his reputation. He specialises in light fittings that have the feel of history behind them – be it midcentury influences or those from the 1800s – but which are recreated in modern materials and colours. Commissions can be several metres tall and most are hand-finished in the UK at the company’s Wimbledon workshop. Some of his products can be seen at his King’s Road showroom (pictured). The designs are approved via technical drawings and finishes are seen and approved before production – which usually takes around 16 weeks – is given the go ahead.
The aforementioned bronze historical chandelier – weighing more than 300kg – is a one-off, a reproduction of an original Edwards found and researched after falling in love with the design. He discovered that it used to hang in Killruddery House, a large garden estate just south of Dublin. It was passion that inspired him to recreate it rather than a specific commission, and at £125,000 he has “no idea who might end up buying it”.
But he believes that “the shop would lose some of its charm and soul if we only sold designs we knew would sell well. It is the less commercial and more eccentric designs that often give customers the most pleasure.”