Seen in a New Light with Hermon Hermon
The perfect combination of an interior designer, electrician and avant-garde design is illuminating homes with warmth, ambience and aesthetic beauty. Georgia Beard switches on to good lighting.
From custom-built architecture to cookie-cutter suburbia, downlights have become the default for Australian homes. They’re practical and inexpensive, but they can also be cold, jarring and unflattering and leave us with an undercurrent of agitation, a sense of wrongness.
Once the right lighting complements the furniture and draws the eyes to focal points in the room, we realise we’ve been missing something.
Hermon Hermon was established in Richmond, Melbourne by design luminaries Barbara and John Hermon as a go-to for Melbourne designers, architects and renovators looking for individual pieces to complete their projects, including a stunning range of lighting.
After a few decades in the realms of interior design, Susanne Anthony and electrician David Hulstone were offered the opportunity to continue importing and distributing the iconic lighting brands when Barbara and John retired – Hermon Hermon Lighting was born.
Susanne and David added to their experience with a ten-week course in lighting at RMIT where lighting designer David Bird led them on a night tour of Melbourne, revealing the beam angles, colours and brightness illuminating the city’s architecture. Since then, lighting has become the first feature they notice when they walk into a room.
Early in 2022, the couple opened their showroom in Noosa to supply artisanal floor lamps, pendant lights and lighting consultancy for architects, interior designers and homeowners.
Artisans peel bark from Salago shrubs, shred the material into fibres and mush those fibres into paper mâché. This material forms the unique, hand-built shapes of Little People and C U C Me pendant lights.
Meanwhile, hand-laid spines of palm leaves create the linear patterns encasing the Kai Arc Floor Lamp. Other lights are framed in sustainably-sourced metal, hand-woven and welded into intricate designs to create stunning statements.
These fixtures are less like appliances and more like art, transforming our living spaces with warmth and ambience.
As an electrician, David explains we’re attracted to the comfort and tranquillity of warm lighting. The stark, clinical effect of cool light should be reserved for task areas, such as kitchens, offices, garages and laundries. When styled in bedrooms, living rooms and dining areas, warm, diffused light creates a relaxing ambience.
“Ambient lighting is good when reflected off the ceiling with uplights, pendants on a dimmer, wall sconces, picture lights and recessed lighting,” he says.
He prefers not to see the light source, hiding a blinding bulb behind panels or shades while allowing light to wash over different surfaces.
Just like the source, the level of brightness can be modified. With added light dimmers, an intense beam for homework at the dining table becomes a soft glow for after-dinner drinks and conversation.
With years of experience in interior design, Susanne recommends choosing light sources based on the layout of the furniture it’s meant to illuminate.
“You don’t want to highlight everything in the room,” she says. “You need some negative space, but if you position your lights properly, you can highlight the best features of the room.”
She also emphasises the importance of balancing light fixtures with the size and materials of furniture pieces.
“We specialise in oversized lights, which are perfect for voids,” she says.
“When it comes to pendant lights, they’ve got to look right even when they’re turned off, because they are a piece of art,” David adds.
This is where height and positioning come into play. When pendants hang at one height, they make a home look like a lighting store. Instead, David suggests lowering pendants over dining tables and elevating pendants over walking spaces, creating a visually interesting dynamic.
To absorb these harmonious, atmospheric experiences from your light fixtures, they must be considered from the start. Consult Hermon Hermon during the planning stages of home builds, so you can explore a variety of options and order custom designs.
As Susanne and David illuminate our spaces, lighting is no longer an afterthought – it’s a fundamental part of the interior design process to harness the power of light, properly.