Casper and Ay Lin Heinen, co-owners of Ay Illuminate, have created a Dutch company with serious soul. The principal designers, Ay Lin and Nelson Sepulveda, work with artisans, many in challenged or developing countries, to create products unique to their brand. Ay Illuminate keeps true to their commitment to protect the environment by producing this fixture free of any chemicals, preserving the beauty of these natural materials.read more
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Casper and Ay Lin Heinen, co-owners of Ay Illuminate, have created a Dutch company with serious soul. The principal designers, Ay Lin and Nelson Sepulveda, work with artisans, many in challenged or developing countries, to create products unique to their brand. The character, heart and passion they have for authenticity is evident in their products.
The mix of high quality handiwork, natural sources and contemporary designs are what make these products perfect for Global Lighting; and though the Heinens claim that keeping it simple is a challenge, they certainly seem to easily make elemental simplicity look stunningly beautiful!
To understand how organically they think, consider this anecdote Casper shares about an aha moment during Maison & Object: “Afghanistan has a place in the fair each year with the focus of local handcrafts, and one year it was a company that produced shawls. Nelson grabbed the people, bringing them to our booth, and we started taking the cotton shades off the fixtures and dressing the lights with the shawls.” Within a year, the Z11 pendants were born.
These luminous and ethnically chic pendants are now swathed in silk-cashmere shades. This company’s commitment to nurturing design talent for those who may never have the leg-up is proven by the vocabulary its founders use—responsibility, nourishment, empowerment, magic and artisanal pride are all touchstones expressed with depth and grace. Once they discovered that discerning clients valued the handmade objects they esteemed, they took the time to discuss how they wished to proceed by asking themselves, “Do we let the market drive us or do we opt for a coherent mission?” They landed on the side of committing to work with craftspeople in the most authentic way and to minimizing their ecological footprint as much as possible.
The design team is quite pleased with the difference they are making and they revel in the fact that they are now able to dedicate their focus to making aesthetically beautiful products that are truly handmade, and making them more accessible to the world at large. We at Global Lighting are honored to be collaborators in this effort as we bring their products to the North American marketplace and help to tell their story.