Simon Day - Nocturne
Nocturne is based on the idea that the best form always follows function. Our lamps are designed with a clean, minimal aesthetic in mind, but are nevertheless luxurious in colour, finish and design.
Our materials, brass, sustainably-sourced hard-woods and aluminium are used to construct lamps to the highest level of craftsmanship designed to last and age beautifully over time.
Nocturne was established by Simon Day in 2011 drawing design inspiration from architecture, workshop machinery and the 20th-century design sensibilities of companies and designers such as Kandya, Stag and PEL, Ernest Race, Anni Albers, Frank Guille, Eileen Gray and Jean Prouve.
From its workshop in Manchester, Simon leads a small team of specialist craftspeople making our lamps to order, so we can adapt our designs to work with your home or interior project.
How did you get started?
I went to college at Wimbledon School of Art in 1994 to study and make sculpture. I moved towards fine art having left the design module at my foundation year in Brighton as I'd found the design briefs frustratingly limited and I just wanted to make objects to play with materials and form. I worked throughout college at the Tate bookshop and the friends I made there who were a bit older than me and were practising artists, designers were influential in encouraging me to try to keep a practise going after leaving college. After a great experience assisting the British Council at the 1995 Istanbul Biennial I got a part time job installing art exhibitions and artworks at the Lisson Gallery in London.
Through a friend I got a part time job in an antique restoration workshop in west London, in some old railway arches. Tom the owner and Ian worked for the dealers on the Lilley Road, Old Brompton Road and various other areas fixing up their old chandeliers and lanterns so they could be sold on. I had metal working experience through art school and I've always loved old objects, but it was challenging and often delicate work.
What I loved was taking apart an old lantern for example, learning how it was made, stripping out the rust and damaged parts and then making new ones that we would then be able to fix it with. Sometimes the repair would be 'honest' and visible, on others we would try to match it in the the original parts to hide the fix. Often we'd have to make the tools to enable us to fix the job, and we had a few Victorian sheet metal workshop manuals that helped us figure some processes.
I worked at this workshop with Ian after Tom died for nine years before moving on to work for friends at Cox London in Tottenham where I managed the workshop for five years before setting up on my own in 2011.
I had been working on lamp designs for a few years in the evenings after work, I was lucky enough that my bosses allowed me to use their workshop after hours, the name Nocturne came from my late light evenings making my lamps. After leaving Cox London Initially I didn't have a workshop or any transport other than my old post mans bike, my flatmates happy for me to use our front room to layout the odd table frame, but it was impractical. I gained clients by word of mouth and recommendations which was great and I still work for the first interior design studio that I had a meeting with that first January. My first workshop was in Sussex in my parents old garage, I spent the week down south making and weekends in London at home. Having worked in London for so long with may suppliers, I had to find a few new ones closer to the workshop, I really enjoyed this process as it gave me a confidence that I could set up anywhere and make my business work.
Website - https://www.nocturneworkshop.com/