If you’re working in the building design profession and you haven’t heard of the name Matthew McCormick yet, you’re probably living in a hole…albeit a very nice hole. Since launching Matthew McCormick Studio in 2013 his highly acclaimed light fixtures have become a hit within our design community and his talents have been sought after worldwide. I had the honor of working with Matthew on a project a couple of years back and I’m excited to be working with him once again. We recently met up for coffee to talk about work and engaged in a fun and inspiring Q&A session.
What sparked your interest in lighting design?
I believe lighting has always had the ability to evoke an experience and set the tone and atmosphere of a space. When it comes to decorative lighting, it also has the ability to be the centerpiece and focal point; illuminating a room with art. Although I’ve always been a bit of a tinkerer, l always had an affinity for lighting; creating sculptural pieces that came to life when you turned them on.
Creative inspiration can come in many forms; daily surroundings, conversation, interesting shapes or forms in complete unrelated objects. But it’s this perpetual and limitless source inspiration in and of itself that keeps the passion alive and well within me.
How do you think your past experiences prepared you for such a successful career in lighting design?
Previously working as an Art Director, you often work closely with clients to understand their needs. Similarly, in many of the custom projects that we take on, it helps to have an open mind and ask a lot of questions, that way you may execute on a vision that they may not quite realize. Inspiration can come from anywhere; a mood board, finishing details, or the space itself. Having this holistic approach helps inform my creative process.
Who or what inspires you?
I think as designers we navigate the world a little differently, always with the lens or awareness that inspiration can strike at any moment, and often instinctively, we seek it out. Obviously, I admire some of the lighting greats, but creative inspiration can come in many forms; daily surroundings, conversation, interesting shapes or forms in complete unrelated objects. But it’s this perpetual and limitless source of inspiration in and of itself that keeps the passion alive and well within me.
What do you enjoy most about being a lighting designer? Is it the creative minds you work with? Is it the creative process you go through to develop a concept/fixture?
It’s the discovery and the sense of being a perpetual student that really motivates me. I also get the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals to collaborate and help elevate whatever it is that we are working on. Seeing a simple idea that once was just banging around in your head and have come to fruition is simply the most rewarding part.
You have won a lot of incredible awards over the past few years, both for your lighting and as a Designer of the Year with Western Living. Is there one award or accomplishment that really stands out to you as a personal favourite?
Being recognized by your peers is always a great honour. I think winning Designer of the Year from Western Living will always stand out to me. The reason for this is because the list of some of its previous winners are people I consider Canada’s design elite. Starting off I always thought “how awesome it would be to win” that one day. Who knew that it would come much sooner than expected, and I attribute that to the exposure thats afforded me further success.
Paolo Cravedi described your work as “fascinating and poetic, fresh and compelling” (Western Living, 2016). How would you describe your work?
When I started designing, I did so as means to just get better; continuing to explore and experiment with what was possible. I think very organically, an aesthetic emerged, one that was very refined and graphic in nature. It’s a voice that I continue to nurture while always remaining very open to different processes and materiality to help to create “the next” piece.
What are some of your favorite projects?
That’s really hard to say. They are all labours of love. It’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is. You spend so much time giving birth to these ideas and have them released out into the world, sometimes its even hard to take a moment to stop and reflect on all that has been accomplished. That said, more so than a single project, I feel its the global reception to my work that I’m most proud of. Afterall, I didn’t start my career to win awards, I did it for me. To be sought after for projects around the world is downright humbling.
By now, I’m sure you’ll all agree that Matthew is more than just an amazing, multidisciplinary designer. He is a brilliant thinker, a creative force, and a constant inspiration to all those around him. To learn more about Matthew, his products, his projects, his design process and philosophy, visit his website and follow him on Instagram at @matthew.mccormick