Design Centre Stories

Meet the Showroom: Circa Lighting

Circa Lighting’s opening at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour created two firsts, marking the US brand’s first international showroom, and also making it the first showroom to occupy the newly expanded space in Design Centre North. An incredible resource for both decorative and architectural lighting, the company’s portfolio includes collections created with outstanding designers such as Kelly Wearstler, Thomas O’Brien and Barbara Barry. Here, Gale Singer, who founded Circa Lighting in Savannah, Georgia in 1998, explains more about its design philosophy, the benefits of seeing craftsmanship in person, and the power of collaboration.

What prompted Circa Lighting to open a showroom in London at Design, Centre, Chelsea Harbour?
While we are open to everyone, our primary customer is the interior designer. This made the Design Centre a great choice as it is where all the designers go to shop, both in the UK and Europe as a whole. The fact we have street access was critical to us.

What should we expect from the showroom?
The showroom is a true experience. Besides our unparalleled customer service and knowledge, we have large screens where you can view our entire assortment at full scale. We also have a conference area, coffee bar and sitting area just to hang out. The showroom was designed to be an extension of our customers’ workplace and we hope it will be able to be used that way. Our architectural lab is in progress, but there you will be able to see our different offering of architectural lighting.

Why should customers visit in person as opposed to looking/buying online?
We do a great job online. That being said, there is no substitute for seeing the quality and craftsmanship of our product in person.

What’s Circa Lighting’s design philosophy?
Timeless, classic product whether modern, traditional or somewhere in between. Building lasting relationships with the trade and consumer. What’s best for the customer is best for the business.

Is there a ‘hero’ product that you feel encapsulates that philosophy, or that’s been a long-standing bestseller?
We have quite a few bestsellers – again, attributed to being timeless and classic. Our ‘Studio’ adjustable floor lamp was our very first lamp; it’s still in the line, still a best seller.

What are the broad trends you’re seeing in your sector of the industry, and how are your collections embracing them?
In-keeping with our design philosophy, we don’t really follow trends. We may see certain products sell well in certain finishes and may add those finishes to other collections: there was a time most of our lampshades were black, now they are mostly white, for example. So we adjust over time when necessary.

What can we expect from the latest collections?
We are definitely expanding our modern collections as that is becoming a very important category for us. Lots of LED to satisfy that demand.

What craftsmanship and innovation goes into Circa Lighting’s products?
Our products are made all over the world through our parent company Visual Comfort & Co. We own all our tools and dyes and all our products are designed by world-renowned designers in interior or product design. This ensures all our products are proprietary to us.

Circa Lighting is known for its collaborations with guest designers – what do they bring to the creative mix?
Everything. They each have their own brand power and therefore are natural influencers; when we seek our new collaborators, they need to bring something special to the market. They frequently encourage us to push the boundaries: Kelly Wearstler has a glass component specific to some of her designs, for example, and we had to figure out the manufacturing process in order to get it made.

Circa Lighting, Ground Floor, Design Centre North