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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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”.