Hand & Eye Studio

Nicky recently discovered Hand and Eye Studio, a London based lighting design company with a clean-lined design aesthetic. The brand explores materials and production processes in innovative ways, challenging the materials and production capabilities through their clever development stages that they share on their website.

Their finished designs celebrate the inherent qualities of the materials, to create unique, desirable and beautiful lighting.

Like good architecture, good lighting has a transformative effect on spaces and how we live. Recognition of this has been a driver for the brand to make products using the latest in lighting technology, so that the quality of the light source itself enhances the environment.

Hand and Eye’s design team is led by Tom Housden, with some commissions from and collaborations with other like-minded designers. They work with makers in the UK and Europe who share their vision of making things that are built to last using materials that are of high quality.

Hand & Eye Studio sells directly to customers buying for their houses and businesses and working with architects, designers and specifiers around the world for both residential and commercial projects.

A view into the porcelain workshop

There are few remaining glass workshops in the UK. Hand & Eye are working with one of them and have designed an exclusive glass lamp together.

The process they use is called mould-blowing. A glob of molten glass is placed on the end of a blowpipe and then carefully lowered into a timber mould that has been soaked in water. The blower then rotates the glass globe whilst inflating it inside the mould. One of the more difficult aspects of the process is knowing when the shape needs to be removed from the mould as the blower cannot see how it is progressing inside the wood. Once ready, the mould is opened and the glass is placed into a furnace to slowly reduce the temperature down from 800 degrees centigrade to ensure it does not cool too quickly and crack.

It’s a dramatic process to watch with plumes of smoke and flames emerging from the timber mould. It produces very beautiful products, each slightly different in weight and feel. Their first glass product is an opal lamp, which omits a lovely light and obscures the light bulb.

The final result below, Blow Up glass pendant

The studio has been working with a UK based master craftsman who specialises in turned timber to create a few unique pieces available on a bespoke basis.

Terracotta is one of the oldest building materials around. Hand & Eye wanted to work with terracotta for its wonderful richness but also to support the small remaining UK based terracotta industry.

Hand & Eye have selected clay from Stoke-on-Trent and use the tradition slip casting technique to make their products, in which the liquid slip clay is poured into plaster moulds. Gradually, the moisture is absorbed from the outermost layers of clay into the mould. The excess liquid is then poured off until you’re left with a clay ‘skin’.

The lamp is then removed from the mould and left to dry naturally before being fired at a very high temperature, which brings out its rich colour.

All the lights are hand dipped in a subtle white glaze to create a wonderful balance between the rich matt terracotta and the smooth, gleaming glaze.

Aren’t they beautiful…


Hand & Eye Studio, Purple Studio, Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, London, SE1 7LG

November 2018 Nicky’s World