As a child, Lana Launay spent time visiting family in southern Spain, and even lived for a while in St Tropez, a Mediterranean town on the French Riviera. She carried the burnt tones and coastal aesthetic of these dreamy locations with her through a career as an artisan and designer, and it has reappeared again as the central inspiration when weaving lampshades for her brand, Shades Launay.
‘I’ve taken a lot of influence from my family’s history within these regions,’ she says. ‘So I would say my work and style reflect the tones of Andalusia with the natural textures of found along the coastal towns of France.’
These natural materials are the heart of Lana’s lamp designs. Using self-taught weaving techniques, Lana threads each individual lampshade with non-traditional fibres like coconut shell rope, bamboo stalks, linen, coffee-stained raffia leaf and bamboo yarn. The result is a range of refined, original and perfectly crafted fittings that throw and diffuse light in inventive ways – and make a statement even in daylight!
In the early days of Shades, Lana experimented with making the lamp base itself from pre-loved objects like vases or upside-down wineglasses. Eventually she moved on to tinkering with discarded lampshades, cleaned up and repaired using the soldering skills she gained from a jewellery-making course she did years ago at TAFE. Now, when she can’t salvage a suitable frame, she works with local welder Maré Marine to build custom shapes using local steel.
‘I had entertained the idea of making lampshades when I was younger but didn’t think of it as a sustainable business until last year,’ she says of her accidental trajectory towards being a business owner. ‘I always wanted to build a brand for beautiful products but they would need to serve as an alternative to unethical and fast production.’
The pieces she creates now are the antithesis of this high-volume manufacturing. Lana has built Shades Launay through a mish-mash of artisan skills accumulated over her twenties, a love for uncommon materials, and a keen eye for inventive design, but it’s growth can be attributed to her passion for collaboration with other creatives.
In the coming months she will launch a collection of hand-sculpted wooden lamps created with jeweller Holly Ryan; a collection of ceramic lamps with Monique Robinson of Lockerroom; and continue her ongoing partnership with Tatsiana Shevarenkova of Cosset Ceramics to be stocked at InBed and Curated Spaces from July onwards.
Big things in the works for a brand that has only been around for under 12 months!
Lana take commissions via DMs on her Instagram here. Her website will be launched soon.
A school photo of Shades Launay creations! Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.
Lana handweaves the shades herself using materials like coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn. These are made with raffia, linen and bamboo stalks. Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.
Lana set up Shades Launay when she returned home from New York last year. She made a hasty departure as the pandemic accelerated, and turned to weaving as a creative outlet while she worked out what to do next. As it turned out, weaving was the next step! Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.
She taught herself to weave by studying photographs of finished products, and a lot of trial and error! Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.
Lana has family roots in Nice and Andalucia and spent time living in Saint-Tropez during her childhood. The burnt earthy hues and natural textures of these Spanish and French locations inspired the natural textures of her lampshades. Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.
Lana began by salvaging discarded lampshades and weaving new covers onto the steel frames. Now she works with local welder Maré Marine to create custom shapes from local steel if she can’t salvage the right frames. Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.
While she establishes her website, Lana takes commissions through Instagram DMs and is working on collaborations with local creatives such as Holly Ryan, Cosset Ceramics and Curated Spaces. Photo – Natalia Parsonson. Assistant – Alexander Cooke.