Parlour Lighting
by Donna Bates


Clerkenwell Design Week 2013: Irish designer Donna Bates' rural upbringing influenced these lamps based on glass vats found in a milking parlour.

Having grown up on a dairy farm in County Derry, Bates referenced the collection jars when creating her Parlour Lighting series, which is now in production.

Parlour Lighting by Donna Bates

The capsule-shaped glass lights are clear at the top and translucent at the bottom to seem half-full of milk, plus each has measurement indicators in kilos and litres.

The pieces are handblown by the same manufacturers that used to create the jars for the dairy industry. "The craftpeople who make the glass jars are willing to make small runs of the glass with the ammendments that I need to make them into lights," Bates told Dezeen.

Parlour Lighting by Donna Bates

The lights come in six shapes and sizes - as pendant lights with a blue, green or black frame and table lamps with either an oak or walnut hand-turned base.

The lighting was on show in a Victorian prison named the House of Detention at Clerkenwell Design Week.

Parlour Lighting by Donna Bates

We've also featured a pendant lamp made of cable ties and a shimmering installation of metal pixels from the event.

More dairy-inspired design on Dezeen includes a constellation of illuminated Chinese ceramic yoghurt pots in former bicycle factory and a building that resembles a block of Swiss cheese.

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See all our coverage of Clerkenwell Design Week 2013 »

More information from the designer follows:

A road less travelled - from milking parlour to design studio

Irish lighting and furniture designer Donna Bates, is launching her first lighting collection, Parlour Lighting at the Clerkenwell Design Week from May 21st – May 23rd. This new collection has been inspired by Donna’s childhood of growing up on the family dairy farm near the shores of Loch Neagh and makes special reference to the milking parlour receiving jars, which were used to collect the cow’s milk.

Each limited edition piece has been handmade to exacting standards in collaboration with the finest local craftspeople using the highest quality materials. “There is a definite movement towards design led craft and I am excited to be part of that trend. I feel passionately about design but equally so about supporting local highly skilled makers” explains Donna.

Parlour Lighting by Donna Bates
Photograph by Dolf Patijn

The Parlour Lighting range comprises three table lamps and three pendant lamps available in small, medium and large sizes. “The size of the Parlour Lighting range pieces have been largely dictated by the size of the milking receiving jars themselves, says Donna. “They are so beautiful in their own right that I have kept the milking scale on the side of each jar which was used to measure the quantity of milk produced and I have gently sandblasted the bottom half of the jar to symbolise the milk collected.”

A limited edition number has been hand etched on each individual piece for authenticity and individuality. “I would like people to approach the Parlour Lighting as they would a piece of art or sculpture as not only are they beautiful and functional but they also tell a story of bygone days and that has resonance with a lot of people”.

  • disgruntled

    Why does it reference milk vats? What has that got to do with lighting? Having a rural upbringing isn’t a reason for creating a light that looks like a container for collecting milk.

    • enn_kola

      Agreed. Another example of throwing a light bulb into something, and calling it product design.

  • Avril

    Ah well, that’s how we’re all different! I love them! I’ve bought five red ones for my new cafe and I can’t wait to see them up!

  • Roger wilson

    Well done Donna! I feel the same as you and your memories of being in the milking parlour, with your dad. I also have grown up on a dairy farm, before going to Nottingham Trent University to study BA (Hons) in Interior Architectural Design. After coming back to the island I love so much I have set up as RW The Design Studio. By Roger Wilson Interiors.

    I feel that Donna’s Parlour lighting range of lights are that stunning that I have decided to work with Donna, so she is supplying my studio in Hillsborough/Moria Co-Down Northern Ireland with her range of limited individual lights. These lights are for sale from my studio now!

    Again well done Donna and keep the good work up x