July 12, 2017

Spotlight: Daikon

People are naturally attracted to light … and JayJeffers – The Store is drawn to the attractive lighting of Daikon. What start as 24 foot long square tubes of steel, become modern, minimal masterpieces that exalt the powerful and persuasive impact light has on the inhabited environment.

Austin who wears the triple crown of founder, designer, and maker found himself reevaluating his corporate crutch after a critical need for open heart surgery. It’s a frighteningly literal and figurative life altering analogy of a broken heart needing change. Austin traded in the corporate sales cubicle for a studio, where all future sales are literally handmade.

The collection nods to tradition taking inspiration from sacred spaces like temples and stupas yet looks forward sculpting with the modern visual and material strength of industrial steel. Daikon’s collection’s breath is intended to consider light in all forms … from a subtle whisper to a …. “HEY, you can’t help but notice me!”

Austin shed light on Daikon’s inspirations, methods, madness and even touches on every person’s craving for a superpower.

Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating (working with your hands) was something you absolutely had to do?
Daikon is rooted in a desire to build a life reliant on creativity and innovation. Building a life around a creative pursuit leaves little choice when it comes to getting comfortable; it’s not an option. The desire to be fully engaged both began and propels Daikon Studio.

You’re based in Pennsylvania. Has this influenced your process or aesthetic at all?
Daikon started out in a blacksmith shop in rural Pennsylvania. This shop produces historically accurate architectural details for restoration projects in Chester County. Working in this environment, and around the watchful eye of these master craftsmen, reinforced Daikon’s direction: unrelenting craftsmanship, attention to detail, exceptional utility… it’s all in there.

What else informs and inspires your work?
Imagination and mechanics. Dialogue and adaptation. Cross-pollination and intrigue.

You’re that rare breed of designer-maker; all pieces are handmade. Does the process ever impact/change the initial idea and/or the outcome?
In making, the hand, eye, and mind dialogue with material and drive the idea and the outcome. Letting this process run its natural course is important. The most successful designs seem to be those that engage in a kind of “call and response”, ones where the design reflects relationships.

What part of the process excites you the most?
Discovering new applications for things that have become familiar. When a project pushes what a fixture can do. Working with something that has an iconic edge but feels personal.

From all your pieces which is your favorite and why?
We are working on a linear light in brass that is about to be released. It has details that are very pleasing up-close. It appears somewhat simple from a distance but rewards the observant viewer taking a more intimate look.

What are you working on currently that excites you?
Last year, we designed and fabricated dynamic hardware for the Stilk chandelier. We’ve only just begun to realize the potential of this somewhat kinetic detail. We have some exciting plans for this fixture.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be (give it a name) and why?
Atmospheric Grey seems like a good fit for Daikon Studio -the type of chromatic grey that results from mixing complements in equal parts -not from black and white. Located at the center of the color wheel with outward movement possible in all directions.

If there were a super power you could use in your fixture making, what would it be?
Wouldn’t every designer say “levitation”?

It’s frequently said that being creative is inherently risky. Can you speak to your relationship to risk and sacrifice, and what risks have you taken with Daikon?
The messiness inherent in uncertainty and risk is inextricably linked to creativity and potential; the focus has to stay on the latter. At Daikon, perfection interests us as an end result but not as a starting point. We expect to be challenged by the process. Like drawing from life; broad loose strokes before fine accurate details. In the end, the strokes made in the process of finding that right contour, those are the ones that give the drawing its life.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” – David White

Daikon’s fixtures are on display at JayJeffer’s – The Store. Please visit us for a closer look – it’s like free admission to a gallery opening!

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