Exclusive Interview * Christopher Boots

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CHRISTOPHER BOOTS a name of an atelier based in the creative hub of Melbourne, Fitzroy. They focus on bespoke decorations and luxury lighting products driven by their love for nature, its a mix between design and highend manufacture.

Boots is inspired by anything, from a visual glimpse to a conversation or a physical experience. Graduated from Industrial Design at the national school of Design (Prahran, 2005), Cristopher Boots has a background in Product Design Engineering.

“All products are handmade with love and care in Melbourne, using a broad variety of techniques with a diverse team of artisans, amongst them glass blowers, copper smiths, ceramicists, sculptores, and bronze casters, ensuring a commitment to quality.”

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A ∙ Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
CHRISTOPHER BOOTS is the name of my atelier based in the creative hub of Melbourne, Fitzroy. Our focus is on design and manufacture of highend, luxury, bespoke decorative lighting products. Each item is carefully considered in its design and aesthetic and produced to order at our studio by a small select team of artisan makers. We have several existing lighting collections, and we are also heavily engaged in custom projects, which can be challenging and exciting at the same time. We employ around 15 staff from full time to casual roles, depending on the workload.

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B ∙ What’s your favourite part of the design process?
I have always enjoyed working with people. I find inspiration in the entire process of initial client conversation followed by many steps of design development and finally seeing the end concept emerge I thrive on that. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to create something beautiful and unique, which has a timeless quality and is fit for purpose. The ability to inspire people I guess is the major driver of why I design. Objects will continue to tell a story by their mere existence. Experimentation is paramount. I love testing out new ideas, materials and techniques. As designers, we must be able to take risks, and most importantly, play.. Taking creative risks often pays off we need an understanding of the things that surround us so we can have the ability to change them, to work them, to mold the world that we live in in ways that resonate our dreams.

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C ∙ Please tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?
From the age of 15, I have been making my own furniture and lighting to suit my aesthetic, so I guess I knew what I wanted to do early on. I didn’t know what an industrial designer was until I was about 19, my best friend’s brother pointed out that my process of making things was in line with the way that industrial design worked. I learned to weld when at 17 and experimented with making lights from xrays and cast concrete. Initially studying for an Arts Degree in cinema and linguistics, I quit as it was no longer challenging me. I began studying industrial design in 2000 which included product design engineering. After graduating in 2005, I worked with Geoffrey Mance a prominent lighting designer, and ended up buying that business a few years down the track after his untimely passing away. He was an incredible friend and mentor. On 11/11/11 I launched my own practice, and that is the fruits of what you see today.

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D ∙ Where do you get inspiration?
Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. It can be anything from a visual glimpse to a conversation, or a physical experience. Usually, it’s dream like, wafting as a feeling before it settles into a sketch or directly to working with a material. People inspire me. We all spend so much time in our lives working, that we often mistake ‘living’ for something that occurs in the future. I’ve always desired a working life balance where being at work is living at one’s best, doing things from a place driven by passion for people and the personal development that occurs when you’re working in a group.The creation of a studio space that is domestic and comfortable was the beginning of establishing an harmonious environment dedicated to artisanal practices.

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E ∙ What was the movie or book that impressed you the most?
The Asterix was designed as series based on the feeling that came through from Blade Runner, the classical dystopian noir film that questions what makes us human. That future is now and we are living it. (well we’re a couple years away but close enough!). I wanted to make a light that spoke to our times.

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F ∙ Can you describe your style, how has that style developed over the years?
My key themes are based on geometries and textures that are materially driven, with a hallmark of authenticity true materials that will age with grace and maintain value over multiple lifetimes. The intention is to have the most minimal, reductive use of line to express an idea. I can’t believe I’ve turned into a minimalist, considering I’m a hoarder of objects and collect countless things. My interest in all things geological started when I was about 6, finding a quartz crystal on a beach. I was always collecting feathers, sticks and rocks on walks in nature. It turned into an obsession and I guess growing up I’m still a kid picking up stones.

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G ∙ What are you working on at the moment?
A lot ! The studio is constantly working on exclusive custom commissions. Launch of a new design called Nepenthes, a sculptural fixture featuring a strong contrast between the masculinity of geometric interlocking solid brass chain links and softness of organic hand blown glass. I’m proud of this new design, which is getting installed at the headquarters of our Londonbased agent FBC ( Fiona Barratt Interiors ) in their brand new flagship showroom in preparation for London Design Festival in September 2015. Come visit us on the 24th!

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H ∙ For you what makes a product rare?
Authenticity, grace, refinement and consideration.
I ∙ What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That these Boots are made for walking. Haha

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