Interview series with Lana Launay

Interview series with Lana Launay

Meet Lana, a self-taught sculptor and artisan, currently working on Guringai land (Sydney’s Northern Beaches) Lana creates lighting objects that are fabricated with environmentally considered materials.

Lana’s objects has been all over our mood-boards for the last couple of seasons. Her silhouettes, colours & textures have been such a source of inspiration for our current TIDES collection.

We chat to Lana to find out more about her story and inspiration. We are so excited to share this series with you and hope you enjoy reading more about our MUSE, Lana Launay 

Lana wears the Mari Dress in Earth Stripe with the Wave Corset


Can you share a bit about your upbringing? what your childhood was like? 


My upbringing was eclectic and transient. My father is a British/French record producer and sound engineer and my mother is an Australian multidisciplinary artist / sculptor. My brother is a set designer and prop builder so there really was no escape from the arts in my family and I am influenced by all of them, all the time. I was born in Sydney but we lived in London until I was 4 or 5. From London we spent a lot of time with my father’s family in a little fishing town called Nerja on the South coast of Spain. Nerja has always been the most special place to me and I feel so connected to it when I return even though its years in between visits. I often dip into memories of Nerja to capture the feeling whenever I need a lift. 


We then moved to a hilly suburb on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We didn’t fit into the traditional suburban family mould but It was dense with trees, close to the sea and was very safe for kids to run a muck so my mother was at ease.
My father moved to LA when I was around 11 so my brother and I spent every US summer holiday there. The glossiness of Hollywood regency contrasted with the diverse and densely populated LA sub cultures were as equally influential and fascinating to me growing up.

It was very normal in our childhood to be crafty and artistically expressive and we both got into art programs during school and attended summer craft groups like puppet making or performance workshops.

We were probably super weird and potentially very annoying kids now that I’m thinking back on it.


Inside Lana's grandfathers house in Nerja & memories from Lana's childhood in Spain.


    Tell us a little bit about your journey in becoming an artisan? What inspired you to start Shades Launay?


    When I was around 20 years old I watched a man in LA make lampshades using iron and dead stock fabrics. I must have been showing my keen interest with his process because my dad persistently encouraged me to start a lamp and shade making for months after. I made one or two, felt satisfied enough that I could do it and moved onto Jewellery making which I dabbled in for about 5 years while also working with an Australian clothing brand abroad. 

    7 years later I was living in London I found some shadeless floor lamps at an antique market.  I could not find replacement shades anywhere, not in antique stores and none second hand that weren’t stained or riddled with mould. 
    The best I could find were brand new traditionally made linen drum shades….my problem with traditionally made lampshades is that they are lined with PVC, a non-biodegradable polymer plastic.

    The more I thought about it, the more I could not bring myself to purchase and support the selling and reproduction of PVC, or any other non biodegradable fabric for that matter.  I really had my heart set on something textured and natural like antique lampshades I had seen in France and Spain. I loved collecting lamps and finding shadeless beauties became a re-occurring theme for me wherever I was living. 

    It wasn’t until moving back to Australia when the the pandemic hit that I actually had time to make some lampshades of my own. I started making the lampshades I always wanted out of discarded frames, biodegradable fabrications and just kept making more and more. I then started reaching out to Antique stores around Sydney to see if they were interested in custom shades for their Antique lamps and I suddenly became really busy with orders through instagram.

    Shades Launay was born without a long term plan and it’s been an interesting but rewarding journey. 

     The Sol de Frigiliana Lamp & Tulipán Lamp from her latest project

    How would you describe your work?


    Considered, textural and playful.


      From left: The late 1930's Lamp, Les Vagues Lampe, Frigiliana Lamp 


      What is a surprising thing about the current stage of life you are in?


      Absolutely everything Is surprising ! The pandemic shook up everything, as I am sure it did for everyone.

      I didn’t think I would move back to Sydney in my early 30’s and I certainly didn’t think I would spend most of my time making lamps. 
      I am surprised by how content I feel to live back by the beach and we’re even considering moving further north in the near future. It now seems so crazy that we were arranging our future in New York just a couple years ago.


        From left: The Tulipan LampDuomo LampBurriana Cabaña Lamp


        Do you have any daily rituals?  


        Every morning I have a black coffee to wake up properly and love making a ceremonial matcha in the afternoon….. It’s probably more the ritual of it that gets me moving but my whole day feels thrown off without one or the other.
        I’m also my best self if I start the day with a swim or run. It’s all about the morning motivators. 


        What are you reading/listening/watching right now?


        I have to make time to read and wish I read more but I am jumping between Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (my second attempt) and The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein.
        I listen to almost everything so I love Spotify radio and have saved Radio playlists from The system, Kokoroko and Part Time that I repeat often. 
        Just started watching the new season of Atlanta 


          From left: Le Bambou ShadeLa Banane Shade (Earth Stripe) Lana del Fuego Shade


          Do you have any daily rituals?  

          Every morning I have a black coffee to wake up properly and love making a ceremonial matcha in the afternoon….. It’s probably more the ritual of it that gets me moving but my whole day feels thrown off without one or the other.
          I’m also my best self if I start the day with a swim or run. It’s all about the morning motivators. 



            What are you working on right now?

            Right now I am launching a little collection of paper lamps and next I will start building some more illuminated sculptures for the Saint Cloche end of year exhibition - opening mid December …. I haven’t left myself much time but am open to a challenge !


            Le Bambou Biomorph LampCubist Shoji Box Lamp, Le Cornet Coil Lamp



              What’s next?

              This year I started slowly shifting my focus away from lampshades and toward more distinctive lamps and sculptural lighting.
              I am more excited to continue exploring the artistry of sculptural lighting, it offers a freedom of expression without the size limitations of standard house lamps.


                Where can we see your work?
                My Instagram, website or upcoming end of year show at Saint Cloche Contemporary in Paddington Sydney. 
                I am also manifesting some more collaborations and pop-ups for the new year so I’m putting out the vibes and will see what comes back! 


                Sculptural lighting constructed with recycled lampshade frames and biodegradable materials.

                Featured are two light installations created for trio exhibition ‘UP-SIDE-DOWN’ shown at Sydney’s Saint Cloche Contemporary Art Gallery July 2022.