Ay Lin Heinen & Nelson Sepulveda
Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Ay Lin Heinen and Nelson Sepulveda are the lead designers for Ay Illuminate, a Dutch lighting manufacturer that soulfully sources materials; empowers artisans in their own, often struggling, communities; and produces casually elegant and very unique fixtures in the process. Ay Lin co-owns the company with her husband Casper Heinen, and she has been a driving force in the development of the remarkable relationships they have developed with handcrafting communities from the start.
Nelson has been equally ambitious in this area since joining the company, his desire to develop lighting products that break new ground in terms of design knowing no bounds. As an example, Casper shares this anecdote that took place at the Maison & Objet fair last year: “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. It took another year to play with the designs but the result is beautiful silk-cashmere shades for the Z series of pendants produced by a few women who have a lot of experience. The great thing is that they are so proud because they make something useful and beautiful.”