RENG Lighting is an artisanal collection designed by Brendan Bass and manufactured in Italy. The line features pendant lights, table lamps, and sconces from four unique categories of craft, forged steel, unpolished crystal, decorative glass and ceramic.
RENG was created to bring the story of craft back to the world of decorative lighting. Reng positions itself a world away from mass production and impersonal industrial management. The brand seeks to celebrate the authentic, the imperfect and all the attributes of artisanal hand production.
The genesis of the brand was a reconnection with my old buying agent in Italy, three years ago. I explained to him my concept and belief that craft and the story of makers was missing in the mass production-oriented lighting world. He assured me that in my twenty year absence, craft and small batch artisanal making was still available in Italy.
“Reng positions itself a world away from mass production and impersonal industrial management. The brand seeks to celebrate the authentic, the imperfect and all the attributes of artisanal hand production.”
For many of the pieces in the first collection I envisioned artisanal glass that illuminates and refracts light. Searching for the refractive quality of crystal g led me to Alberto, the owner of century-old Argentano Cristallo in Tuscany. Alberto’s small factory of twenty artisans produces for the cut crystal market; producing stemware, perfume jars, and cut crystal dining accessories. Alberto’s small short run factory and its artisans possessed the style of craftsmanship that were perfect for Reng.
I asked Alberto to work with the raw crystal bodies as they emerge from the mould. At this state of the craft cycle the crystal is flawed with bubbles and casting imperfections. Just what I needed for a brand that celebrates the authentic and earthiness of materials.
Another one of my Italian artisans is Stephano. His workshop is the embodiment of artisanal Italian hand craft. Stephano manages five men in a small workshop south of Florence. They work with mouth blown and moulded glass forms. I often request Stephano to further form the glass once it leaves the mould, adding texture, color and additional shaping.
Working with the second generation at Foza Ceramiche in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, has exposed me to a modern expression of the ancient craft of ceramics. Ceramic artistry is a very important part of my collection, the pieces provide a masculine element to the line.
The ceramics are made by brothers Lorenzo and Franco. They operate a twenty man artisanal factory where they shape, form and color ceramic forms to my contemporary aesthetic.
For the forged steel collection, I am working with three workshops; one in Tuscany, a second north of Milan, and a third workshop here in Dallas. These three artisan shops are family-owned, producing one-off or small batch runs. All three employ the tools of craft, forge and hammer along with the mechanics of bending and polishing. Once again, second generation artisans creating a bespoke product unique to my aesthetic.
The RENG focus is the celebration of artisan workmanship. Conceived by what I saw as a void in the market and then inspired by the craft I saw in Italy; RENG melds the story telling of craft with a modern aesthetic.