Bringing his talents from France to Durban, Xavier Clarisse is appreciating the natural beauty of South Africa’s gardens and turning it into leather chandeliers.

Xavier has lived in Durban for 15 years with his wife and daughter. From a young age, he has always had a passion for design and attended ‘L’Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts’ and specialised in sculpture and product design.

While Xavier did attend art school, he sees his work as a result of experimentation and teaching himself. Now living in South Africa, he states that his main source of inspiration is nature which led to his crafting of leather chandeliers.

“I believe in design that all the answers are in front of me,” says Xavier, “When I look at a leaf, the tree or any object for that aspect, I just have to educate myself to express it with material into a shape that can possibly lead to a design.”

Xavier designs the product on paper first and is incredibly involved with the design process, from picking out the different materials such as leather and stainless steel. He explains that the chandeliers are biodegradable and uses tanning leather to make the leather durable and less susceptible to decompositioning and colouring. 

Dying the leather is a lengthy process and is done with a natural product. The leather colour can be customised to the customers choice. The last step in the designing process is attaching the lights to the chandelier. Like the leather dying that is customisable, the lighting is also customisable and customers can pick any colour they want.

Xavier doesn’t just use the shape of nature for the chandeliers. He also looks at the decay of nature and how he can use that in his designs as well.

“You know, you’ve got a beautiful tropical leaf and this has to be interpreted as a design. So what can we do with it? What materials are we going to use to implement that as a design?” Xavier explains.

The chandeliers he’s made create dappled light in the room that creates a natural environment of ease and relaxation. This requires thought into how the light will diffuse in the chandelier itself and how the desired effect will be created.

“As an immigrant, it’s my duty to integrate myself to that country and to that world that pleases me, that makes me feel welcome and at home. So it is important to translate that into my design. It’s about the culture that’s around me and what you can make of it and deliver to the world as an artist.”

Using his talents to create eco-friendly chandeliers, Xavier knows there’s a market for nature to be included in our daily lives and with his experience and skills, he can bring nature and dappled light into your home.

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