An internationally renowned designer lit up the imaginations of artistic pupils at a Flintshire high school.
Simon Macro led a workshop at Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold thanks to a project with eco-friendly property development company Tesni Homes who are based in the town.
He is part of the Freshwest partnership which designed the acclaimed Brave New World lamp for the uber cool Dutch furniture brand, Moooi.
Other pieces of theirs have been exhibited in galleries in Vienna and Geneva.
More recently Simon and his partner Marcus Beck, who are based in the Pembrokeshire village of Penally, designed a light installation for Tesni’s new housing development at River’s Edge in Tibberton, near Telford, in Shropshire.
The installation is now in the running to be honoured at the prestigious Arts and Business Cymru Awards at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on June 23.
The design is based on the shape of a graph illustrating the green energy generated as a result of having solar panels on the roof of Tesni’s HQ in Mold.
Thanks to additional funding from Arts and Business Cymru, Simon and Tesni Homes’ Marketing Manager, Lorraine Hopkins delivered educational talks and workshops to students at Ysgol Maes Garmon and Glyndwr University in Wrexham.
Tesni Managing Director James Hennie explained: “The Tesni brand is very much about warmth, light and natural light in particular.
“Tesni is an old Celtic word which means ‘warmed in the sun’ and reflecting this we used a lot of glass in the design of our homes in Tibberton.
“All of our homes have a high level of eco-credentials and are built in a way that keeps energy bills and the carbon footprint low, by harnessing energy from the sun through solar panels and maximising the amount of natural light brought into the home.”
“So when faced with the task of selecting light fittings we decided to develop it into a project and commission our very own Tesni Light.
“It’s a spectacular and thought-provoking work of art and it was great to talk to students about the creative process and how the environmental data influenced the design.
“We are members of Arts & Business Cymru and we are grateful to them for their support which enabled us to develop the educational tour.”
Simon was also thrilled the Tesni Light had been shortlisted for an award.
He said: “I was able to talk to students at Ysgol Maes Garmon and explain how we came up with the design and the materials we used.
“I saw some of the designs students were working on for their own lights and I was able to give some pointers and advice although their designs looked excellent.”
According to design and technology teacher Lisa Davies, the workshop gave students an excellent insight into how to take a project through from conception to completion.
She said: “It was really good and our GCSE students in particular gained a great deal from it. It gave students an opportunity to explore how they can best use their design skills in the future.
“It’s wonderful to be able to work with a local company such as Tesni Homes and to be able to learn from their designs and inspirational ideas. It was a really helpful exercise for our students.”
Student Holly Hardman, 17, of Flint, thoroughly enjoyed the Tesni Homes workshop.
She said: “The workshop gave me a lot of ideas and the opportunity to talk through my design ideas was really very helpful. I designed a light fitting based around the work of the French designer Jean Nouvel.”
Fellow student Lucy Davies, 16, of Connah’s Quay, added: “It was amazing to hear how Freshwest came up with the design for a light installation using the data from the energy saved at Tesni’s offices.”
Partnerships Director Gwenno Angharad, from Arts & Business Cymru, said: “We’re an organisation that brings artists and businesses together for mutual benefit.
“We carried out some research for Tesni and identified professional artist makers Freshwest as the ideal candidates to work on the project and come up with a design that creates a story about being eco-friendly.
“We also invested in the project to enable the artists to go out into the community to schools and universities to explain the process and how they’re working with businesses.
“Tesni Homes have understood how artists and designers can make a real difference to their business.”