From napkin sketches to a high-end lighting collaboration: Meet designer Jen Dallas

Jen Dallas

Designer Jen Dallas shared the backstory of her Puzzle collection with Chameleon Fine Lighting with Home Accents Today, detailing how a successful collaboration comes to life and how her collection can differentiate one’s retail floor.

HAT: Please tell us a bit about how you got involved in this industry.

Dallas: I have a bachelor’s degree in interior design, and I have always been an artist. My father is an artist, too. As a child, when I wasn’t in school, I would be throwing pots in the back of his studio or painting. I have always been super sensitive to spatial relationships. My mom still laughs that she would find me moving furniture around in the middle of the night. I have always been very sensitive to space, and I think that helps me be successful at what I do.

Becoming an interior designer was always what I wanted to do. As a career, it combines all my passions and gifts into one: my artistry, my communication as a somewhat extrovert, my passion for homes and house materials, my addiction to office supplies and presentation materials, and my life coach sensibility.

When creating a home with clients, I love to dream big and dig deep by asking good questions, learn how their life works well for them now and how it can function even better for them.

I started my own namesake firm 15 years ago.

HAT: Tell us about your collection with Chameleon Fine Lighting.

Dallas: My first collection is called the Puzzle collection. It consists of four wall sconces: The puzzle, The Sunrise, The Mountain and The Plus. Each of the sconces has a unique look and feeling. My first in the collection is the larger “Puzzle” sconce, hence the name for the collection. It is inspired by the Art Deco style and how we frame artwork. The collection is designed to pair multiple pieces into a singular sconce. I played with shape in repetition, creating a harmonious rhythm.

I enjoy how much the sconces play off negative and positive space. The light peeks out from within the piece. I explored the Art Deco style of craftsmanship and the raw use of materials all in the beauty of simplicity. I conceived the designs with the feeling of putting together pieces of a puzzle, although the pieces can be arranged in any combination. Being a designer myself, I wanted to create a collection that would allow someone to create their own customized puzzle by offering a variety of finishes to choose from. For inspiration, I suggest some combinations on my website.

Jen Dallas sketches out her plans for the Puzzle Collection.

My second collection is the Eclipse collection. It consists of a wall sconce and soon-to-be pendant light. I am fascinated by outer space and the unknown. The Eclipse pieces are made of alabaster and bronze. We wanted each piece in this collection to read like a work of art. I want to provide fixtures that are created in a proper scale for either an intimate home setting or a larger hotel or commercial space. All my collections are ADA-compliant with no more than a four-inch projection.

HAT: How did your collaboration come to fruition? What is the process of partnering with a manufacturer?

Dallas: I love antique lighting. It is one of my greatest passions in treasure hunting for a client. In the mid-1990s I was researching where I could source antique light fixtures and that is when our relationship began. I would source antiques from Chameleon Fine Lighting and started to use them more and more to create my custom lighting designs for my clients. We have always had a great relationship. They give me what I want. Their quality and attention to detail is superior. I am thrilled to be working with them on my lighting collection.

We started our process of the collection in 2018 and launched it this past month. We worked through my sketches and created shop drawings and mockups of all the pieces for my approval. It was a step-by-step process, but one that was so exciting. I remember every step in the process and once I received a finished piece I was blown away! So exciting to see my designs come to life; it never gets old for me!

HAT: What is the story a retailer can tell their customers about your line and product?

Dallas: I literally started my designs on a napkin. My best designs come to me when I am alone eating out or in the shower.

The final five lighting pieces in the Puzzle Collection.

HAT: What is the retail price range for your lighting? Ship time? And what finishes are available?

Dallas:The collections start at $2,700, depending on the finish selections. The ETA is 8-10 weeks. Some examples of finishes we offer: Polished Nickel, Polished Brass, Copper, Satin Brass, Satin Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze along with powder-coated colored options.

I love how flexible the collection is, enabling people to create their own piece of the puzzle. My favorite right now is a copper box with polished nickel and polished brass pieces as the face.

Early sketches of the Puzzle Collection

HAT: What does your product line add to a retail floor?

Dallas: High-end and unique design. The collection is special because it is small production and not mass marketed. It is easily customizable and can provide customers with their own personal creation. The pieces are timeless and created to last. Depending on the finish combination, the pieces can be placed in any style home or business.

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