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Publication Date: 2019-10-17

Behind the Design

Studio Visit: Jeffrey Alan Marks on His New Collection for Progress Lighting

LA-based designer Jeffrey Alan Marks is known for his coastal chic, but in creating his new collection for Progress Lighting, he looked far beyond the beach, devising a range of pendants, chandeliers, and sconces that work in virtually any interior

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Jeffrey Alan Marks in his Malibu kitchen, with a pair of his galvanized metal Surfrider pendants for Progress Lighting.

Q: How did the collaboration come about? Did you approach Progress Lighting or vice versa?

A: Progress Lighting’s V.P. Product Management, Colleen Visage, knew she wanted to reach the interior design community and felt a collaboration would be the best way to communicate their level of interest and commitment. She reached out to licensing agent Laurie Salmore, who knew I am really passionate about lighting and felt that I would be a perfect match. My goals and those of Progress were in perfect alignment, and I felt I could really bring a point of view that they were not speaking to at the time.

Progress Lighting is over 100 years old and is a global force in the lighting industry. They have incredible resources, a state-of-the-art headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, and a really impressive showroom in Dallas. Yet, they were relatively unknown in the residential interior design community. The opportunity to bring Progress directly to my community was so compelling.

The Yerba pendant in the designer's dining area.

Q: You are known for a look that is relaxed and beachy, yet sophisticated. And the name of the collection, Point Dume, certainly reflects a coastal vibe. Yet many of the materials you used are not traditionally associated with seaside style. Was this a deliberate choice? 

A: The beach is my greatest source of inspiration and Southern California is my home. I use these materials in many of my coastal projects, but also in urban environments. Country houses, too. Galvanized and enameled metals feel beachy but can also be industrial. The leather details are inspired by fashion. I wanted to mix unexpected materials into this collection. The way a natural brass ages over time and develops a patina are elements of the materials that feel coastal to me, but also can fit in many environments.

A living room featuring the Wandermere chandelier and Onshore wall bracket.

Q: The line incorporates elements of farmhouse chic, industrial design, and artisan handwork, yet manages to be something very different from most lighting on the market. Was that a hard sell to the people at Progress Lighting?

A: It does offer a different point of view for sure! But honestly, Progress was on board. They loved the design process and were very open creatively. The material options and scale certainly pushed everyone, but it was a good process with the team at Progress. It was important to me to design a collection that blended industrial and artisan influences.

Q: Were there pieces you designed because you couldn’t find them on the market already?

A: Over the years, from project to project, you start to understand what is missing from the marketplace  I have found there is a lack of scale missing from most lighting outfitters. I wanted this collection to be impactful and inspire the design community to use scale in their projects. Lighting has become the jewelry of the room — I want to encourage people to celebrate with these designs.

A trio of Onshore pendant lights brighten a casual dining room.

Q: Where do you hope to see your lighting pieces being used? Are there particular rooms where you hope to see them?

A: I always start the product concepting process with envisioning the product in a room. For the Point Dume Collection, I had a clear vision of the types of environments that these fixtures would live in: a city loft, a beach house, a country house in England, and a Manhattan uptown apartment.

Q: You have created everything from large scale pendants to sconces to small spot-pendant lights. How important was it for you to cover such a practical range of types and sizes?

A: Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms — the collection offers so much flexibility. The designer’s vision can transport these designs to numerous design aesthetics. The Shearwater Pendant in a white finish was installed at our family home in Easthampton in time for my wedding, and the Surfrider Pendant in the galvanized metal finish is hanging over my kitchen island. I think a lighting fixture from Point Dume could easily be incorporated in every project.

The Rockdance pendant and Latigo Bay sconces a living area.

Q: Are there plans to continue to expand the line?

A: We are already at work on the next collection.  We had meetings over the summer, so yes. But I cannot reveal the focus yet!

A blue enameled Surfrider pendant in the designer's bathroom in Malibu.

Q: What has been the biggest surprise for you since the line was launched?

A: The team at Progress is very creative, energetic and passionate about this category. The enthusiasm and commitment they displayed in bringing this collection to market was really impressive. We also grew very close and I consider them, not only my partners, but friends. The process has been a wonderful one, which certainly contributes to great product as a result.

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