Homegirl London pays homage to Bert Frank. This company designs and manufactures truly individual lights to the highest possible standards which are built to last. They favour mid century lighting styles combined with high quality materials, particularly brass. This is the collaboration between designer Robbie Llewellyn and Adam Yeats who looks after the technical and manufacturing side of the business. You’ll find four exquisite collections to choose from which you can also customise in your own choice of finishes and colours. Each range features wall lights, ceiling pendants and table lamps. I caught up with Robbie to find out more about Bert Frank.
Riddle Double Table Lamps
Meet the Bert Frank Owners
Robbie studied BA Product Design at Bournemouth University. He then went onto work at Hector Finch Lighting. Adam learnt the trade through working in the family manufacturing business and has been producing high end metal work for twenty years now.
Adam Yeats and Robbie Llewellyn
Robbie and Adam met whilst working together on various projects which turned into a friendship. When Robbie was in the process of setting up Bert Frank it was an obvious choice to join forces with Adam because their skills were complementary and they shared a love for lighting. Robbie says – “The partnership between us in our design process and the inputs that we bring together to create the final product is very rewarding. We don’t set ourselves any limitations or boundaries and with our different perspectives the outcome is always far better than each of us would have achieved on our own”
Shear Wall Lights
Setting up a business was a natural progression for Robbie – “After spending years designing and learning from some of London’s top lighting manufacturers, it felt like the opportune time to create something I felt truly passionate about.”
Shear Table Lamps
The business was launched in April 2013 and the name is an abbreviation of Robbie’s first and middle names – Robert Francis. He comments – “It seemed to have the right tone about it.” There are now four people in the company and they work between the studio in Chiswick and the factory in Birmingham. Robbie explains – “Birmingham has such a strong history of manufacturing and especially metal work. It’s still where much of the highly skilled labour is so serves us well to make our products there.”
Bert Frank Collection
Robbie talks me through their collection – “Our lights are designed to be things that we love or would want ourselves so they are strongly influenced by the mid century and industrial styles that we are so fascinated by. Unlike many of the items made in this period though we like to use solid materials. This is combined with a high quality finish for products which are made to last. As a designer I set out to create enduring designs that offer not only superior quality but visual impact too. I eventually found the perfect balance between amalgamations of mid century influences and industrial aesthetics – a big inspiration for my collections that I like to describe as original and functional with a handsome design edge.”
Riddle Table Lamps
At the moment, brass is their favourite material and finish. Robbie reveals – “I used to detest brass while I was working with antique lighting. I associated it with frilly Victorian chandeliers or cheap shiny lacquered faux antiques but I’ve come to love it. It’s actually the perfect choice from a manufacturing point of view because it’s so versatile. Brass has an amazing array of ways that is can be finished to create different textures and colours. We’ve recently been using a lot of Petrol blue with a textured matte finish which works brilliantly with the brass. We offer custom finish options so it is often very interesting to see what colours our clients specify.”
Revolve Petrol Blue Table Lamps
The four ranges are Shear, Riddle, Revolve and Arbor. Let’s start with Shear which is the original Bert Frank light. Robbie tells me – “I’d been tinkering with this design for years so it was an obvious choice to start with. It is so hard to get something to look so simple and work well so there was a lot of development that went into this range of lights.”
Shear Table Lamps
The Riddle range features cast brass shades that are machined for that solid industrial look and a Bauhaus feel to the base. This table lamp is the perfect gentleman’s desk lamp.
Riddle Ceiling Pendants
Revolve range is made without compromise. Robbie tells me – “These lamps are based around the large spun shades with brass details that make all the difference. The rise and fall in this range particularly I think fills a gap in the market for a modern rise and fall with a nod to the past.”
Revolve Table Lamps
The Arbor has a touch of deco. Robbie describes them – “They are large and a bit more glitzy than the rest of our products and are very unapologetic about it.”
Arbor Ceiling Pendants
Everything is made by them in the UK – “It’s very important for us to keep it this way. We like to be able to control the quality of the materials. We need skilled labour to produce our lights. I don’t think we can do this if it is not on home soil.”
Buy Bert Frank Products
You can buy the products from www.bertfrank.co.uk. Prices range from £210 up to £1200. They offer the option to customise products by changing the scale or colour and can even make you something fully bespoke.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Bert Frank. Thanks: Robbie Llewellyn, Adam Yeats and Claire Masters.