"You know, I think it all really works together nicely," says Jeffrey Alan Marks of his latest licensed collection—a line for Progress Lighting—and how it fits in with his previous lines of furniture and fabrics. Marks would know: For the launch shoot, the designer installed the lights in his own Malibu home, surrounded by fabric, furniture, and interiors of his design.
"We kept looking at clients' houses and studios for the shoot and I just couldn't get my head around it," Marks tells AD PRO by phone a few weeks before the Dallas International Lighting Market, where the collection will make its official debut. "I wanted to have them in a house that everyone knew, so that it felt more approachable than a studio."
As the avid Instagrammer, who frequently offers peeks at his own homes to his 46,000 followers, points out, "I think people know my house enough to think, 'Well if he's going to use them, so will we.'"
Plus, it only made sense for the 35-piece collection, called Point Dume after the beachfront area where the designer finds much of his inspiration, to be shot on location in—well, Point Dume. "I take a morning beach walk, and I'm inspired by the ocean," Marks says. "I wanted to mix my love of California with my love of more classic interior design. The colors and finishes are a lot more watery, not too much of the brass you see everywhere. I think they could fit in any situation, in any location. But, obviously, Malibu is where I get my inspiration."
Marks's eagerness to use the products in his own home (and office, as he makes evident while describing to me the one he's looking at during our conversation) is a big selling point for a line in which the designer endeavored to bring the same sensibility of his luxury interiors to a more mass market.
"I do more high-end projects and I only take on a few a year, so a lot of my lighting has been custom through Urban Electric or Charles Edwards," the designer explains. "That was one of the things I always wanted to get into, ever since I started interior design, so it was interesting to come back to that after doing my fabric and to do it in a way that's approachable."
Working with Progress, he devised sconces, pendants, and chandeliers in materials like leather and glass, but which, Marks says, "still feel preppy and fun, because that's where my style lies."
He also developed several new finishes for the brand—like a powder blue that Marks promises really reads as a more interesting neutral—to complement the existing ones he also chose to use. "I'm the first guest designer, which is fun because I sort of got free rein to do what I wanted," Marks says. "They were really open to me bringing in colors and materials and really strove to get them at a good price point." (Lights in the collection range from $240 to $1,300)
Marks is so pleased with the outcome—and how it fits into his existing projects—that he's at work on an e-commerce section of his own website, where he'll offer them directly. "I have a website coming out, a subsidiary of my own, called JAM Approved," Marks says. "People always ask me where they can buy things, so this is the first time I'm putting things on my own site and feeling proud of it. I have enough licenses now to round it out [Marks has lines for Kravet, A. Rudin, Palecek, The Shade Store, and Progress Lighting]. I think when you start to see the lights with the fabrics, they make sense together.
"It's kind of like Garanimals—did you have that when you were a kid?" Marks asks laughingly of the mix-and-match clothing concept. "Well, this is my take! Everything was planned out, each license, to work together."
As for what he hopes will come next? An outdoor collection with Progress (to complement an outdoor fabric line he's also working on), the beginnings of which, unsurprisingly, he's already begun to invent in his personal life. "I got married last summer and we used what I call the wedding chandelier. We hung it outside and it wasn't lit yet, but we hung them over the table and lit them with candles, and it was a beautiful lantern kind of feel."
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