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Emma Finch on Her Favorite Lamps, Gio Ponti, and the Future of Brilliant British Company Hector Finch

Catch Emma and Hector Finch in Dallas This Week

BY // 03.02.22

Emma and Hector Finch, owners of the British heritage lighting brand Hector Finch, will be at James showroom in Dallas (March 1 to 3) to “talk all things Hector Finch,” she says, in celebration of Hector Finch’s 25th anniversary. Hector Finch, which supplies lighting for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s London and country homes, among other historic houses, is revered in England and abroad for a beautiful take on traditional design and craftsmanship that includes metalwork by British artisans, Italian glasswork, and longstanding relationships with family-owned businesses.

Emma’s husband, Hector, started the company in Lancashire, England, selling vintage and antique stock he’d procured from private homes, auctions, and dealers. Hector and his father, an antiques dealer, traveled across the North of England on the hunt for exquisite old chandeliers, lanterns, and lamps, which Hector had rewired and restored by metal craftsmen, finishers, and glassblowers. The quality of his lighting quickly drew a large following of interior designers, and he eventually added vintage lighting from Spain to the mix, along with modern manufactured lights and Moroccan lanterns.

Emma joined the company in the early 2000s, creating a collection of fixtures primarily for the design trade. Many of these original designs are still available, and the current collection includes Italian ceramic pendants and lamps, classic hanging lanterns, early-Art Deco-inspired chandeliers, table lamps in natural shagreen and cowrie shell, and Murano glass. The company’s head office, warehouse, and workshop are now located at Easter’s Court just outside the Herefordshire market town of Leominster. They also have a showroom in Fulham near Chelsea Harbour and are carried in showrooms around the world.

In addition to custom commissions for architects and interior designers world wide, their impressive CV includes refurbishing the marriage rooms at Westminster Registry Office and the Great Hall at Trinity College, Dublin, and lighting for The Connaught, Claridge’s, and Brown’s Hotel, London; The Four Seasons Hawaii; Gleneagles; The Pig Hotels; Hotels Endsleigh and Tresanton; and many Soho House projects. They are currently working on two major London hotel projects set to launch in 2022.

Emma and Hector Finch will be at James showroom in Dallas Thursday, March 3. Hector Finch, to the trade at James, Dallas Design Center, 1025 N. Stemmons Freeway, jamesshowroom.com.

Find Hector Finch lighting collection in Houston at James showroom, Decorative Center Houston, 5120 Woodway, jamesshowroom.com

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Emma Finch: Favorite lamps, Gio Ponti, and the What’s Next at Hector Finch

Personal favorites.
Our Starback wall lights were used in the U.S. Ambassadors’ Residence in London, and they liked them so much that they asked for them to be rewired for America for when they returned after their London engagement. Starback is timeless, elegant, and exemplifies everything about our brand in terms of quality and line. The square section arms are extremely difficult to achieve and are made by one of the most skilled metalworkers in the UK out of a solid lump of brass. We have some designers that specify them over and over again for all those reasons.

Since the introduction of the Murano colored-glass range, the Paola pendants and wall lights, we’ve promoted the unique and jewel-like quality of this glass as decorative objects as well as light fittings. I love the simplicity of the design and the fact that the glass sings its own tune in an interior, introducing color or a contrasting tone. It’s so important to support the incredible glass artisans of Northern Italy, in particular, Murano, to keep these centuries-old foundries in work so that those skills are not lost forever.

Paola pendants in a room by Elizabeth Hay Design
Paola pendants in a room by Elizabeth Hay Design

Less is more.
When Hector sat down to design the Zeus lantern, he applied some very strict criteria following our less-is-more design philosophy. Listening to a customer’s requirement, he knew that the design needed to be pared back on detail, proportionately correct, and made of durable materials at an affordable price. The most popular of these is zinc, a roofing material, which is laser-cut and acid-dipped to achieve a soft, gray, slightly powdery finish that is very stable and enduring.

New designs.
Nearly all our fittings are designed by Hector Finch, and the one we’re most excited about at present is our new bathroom fitting, the Zeppelin, a ground-breaking design for bathrooms utilizing a single piece of borosilicate glass slotted onto a brass backplate. Borosilicate glass is much lighter than conventional glass, as it does not contain lead. It was originally developed for laboratory use due to its versatility and resistance to heat.

2020.
Our COVID silver lining was the opportunity to move our headquarters into a building that formerly housed fine art and antiques auctioneers, which closed during the pandemic. We were able to fit out the sale room as a modern, warm, and spacious warehouse and converted the former furniture store into a purpose-built production workshop with an expanded engineering department and line of wiring benches. This facility, along with lovely offices, has transformed our working environment, as well as made us much more efficient and able to produce more custom fittings than previously. We added three new showrooms in North America during 2020 and have a dedicated Hector Finch space at Harbinger LA and a greatly expanded display in Chicago and Dallas. I’m also in conversation with a new showroom opening in Nashville.

Lucia Double Rise & Fall

Influences.
The pared-back, simplified aesthetic that’s associated with Scandinavian design has been massively influential, but we also love the 1950s and, of course, Gio Ponti. His genius lies in the simplification of line and the enhancement of form using small details, sometimes unexpected. Along with Eileen Gray and Fornasetti, these were the designers who lead us into the modern design age. Having said that, I love Arts and Crafts, from William Morris in England to Josef Hoffman and Adolf Loos in Vienna, as well as the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. We travel quite a bit these days and always try to fit in a visit to the museum of decorative arts in whatever city we’re in. On a trip to Prague in January, we saw an extraordinary exhibition of modern art glass made by Czech glass artists, and an intriguing exhibition showing the link between the indigo-making tradition of Japan and that of Czechia. All reminding us of the importance of creativity and the continuation of traditional forms of making things.

Next.
I’m launching a carefully curated furniture line and glassware for domestic use, working on a scent with a Florentine friend and hoping to have a beautiful diffuser to share in the next six months or so.

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