27 September 2023

A Coffee with Ryan Lewis, Lovelight

A Coffee with Ryan Lewis, Lovelight
Lovelight provide specialist window furnishings for architects and designers, volume builders, owner and small builders, developers, investors, custom homes and homeowners. With industry roots dating back to 1959, Lovelight have a thorough understanding of the needs of the Australian market, and pride themselves on delivering quality products for every project.

We caught up with Director and all-round mensch Ryan Lewis for a chat;

Firstly, tell us a little about your path into Lovelight – when was the company established and what’s your journey been like to now?

Lovelight began in 2011 with a vision to cater to architectural residential projects. As time progressed, our vision expanded, leading us into the realms of furnishing commercial and multi-tenant residential projects. The journey began in a modest office space in Caulfield, but as passion drove progress, we branched out – and are now proud to have offices in South Yarra VIC, Alexandria NSW and Brisbane QLD.

Having said that, our initial goal to be part of awe-inspiring spaces has always remained at the forefront. And, in doing so, we've found ourselves working hand in hand with some of the most talented architects, designers, and developers. What’s more, we get to do so as part of a family business meaning every day gives us the opportunity to be around some of our favourite people.

What does Lovelight stand for? What are you doing differently from other suppliers in the market?

I’ll start off by telling you what we aren’t - just another name in the window furnishing industry. Instead, we aim to represent innovation and disruption. While most may tread the traditional path, we are always pushing boundaries, continuously melding the worlds of product design with technology. Even our IT department is called “Do IT better.”

We also try not to just adapt to change – but rather create it. We've designed our own bespoke computer programs tailored to manage the vast workflow intricacies of our business. This isn't merely about keeping up; it's about setting new benchmarks for efficiency.

Essentially it comes down to understanding the diverse needs of our clients. The objective is clear – to uncomplicate and streamline the buying experience for the end-users. So, when asked what makes Lovelight stand out, it's our unwavering commitment to reimagining the norms and always offering something distinctively superior to the market.

What are some of the greatest challenges when pricing up and subsequently installing into a new building, such as Willow Brighton?

Pricing and installing for a new building, such as Willow Brighton, is undeniably an intricate task, with its own set of challenges that demand agility and foresight. One of the biggest challenges we grapple with is the unpredictable surge in costs. Suppliers and trades often present constant price escalations, which makes setting a fixed price for projects 12-24 months down the line not just tricky, but laden with risks. It's a tightrope walk for us to ensure precision and maintain profitability.

I’ll also add that the unpredictability doesn't end with the numbers. On-ground realities, especially delays on site, introduce another layer of complexity and can result in bottlenecks. But this is where our strength lies. We have a robust team of installers, which builds resilience into our model. So even in the face of multiple challenges, we’re able to ensure our customers always receive the kind of service they have come to expect from Lovelight.

Are there any new products coming to market in the near future? How does Lovelight continue to innovate?

The question of new products coming to market is always an exciting one. As society becomes increasingly eco-conscious, the demand for sustainable options has surged, so we have aimed to be right at the forefront of this change. Recycled fabrics, once a niche preference, are now gaining immense traction, not just for their aesthetic appeal but for the significant environmental statement they represent. We are fully embracing this shift, championing products that are not only beautiful but also responsible.

Then, in our quest to optimise the installation process, rather than relying on generic solutions, we've designed our own unique extendable tracks. 

Obviously, innovation is not just a “set and forget” goal -  you have to stay constantly on the move. That’s why our teams make regular appearances at industry fairs globally. Whether it's the local design fairs in Australia or the iconic events in Europe, we are there, absorbing, learning, and getting inspired.

Is there anywhere globally that you look to for inspiration for your business? Anywhere overseas where they are really ahead of the game?

Absolutely, the world is teeming with design inspirations and each year, we are drawn, to Salone Del Mobile in Milan. This isn't just any design fair; it stands as one of the grandest congregations of design brilliance globally. It's in such epicenters of creativity where we often find the spark for our next innovation. In the realm of design, Milan truly is leaps and bounds ahead, and we're fortunate to immerse ourselves in its brilliance annually.

What types of projects interest you the most? What appealed to you when first presented with Louise Melbourne?

When it comes to ideal projects, there are a few critical elements that captivate our attention. The age-old adage of 'location, location, location' couldn't ring truer than it does for Louise Melbourne; overlooking Albert Park, it is truly a site to behold. Being involved in development like that isn't just another project for us; it's an exciting prospect we're eager to embark upon. I mean, you just have to think of how well our window furnishings will photograph when set against those views! 

Ultimately, every project presents its own unique opportunity. Our task, is to provide products that align seamlessly with the project's design intent. Whether it's the panoramic beauty of Louise Melbourne, blinds for a new build or any other venture, it's always about providing customised solutions, achieving design excellence and hopefully having a little fun along the way.

You come across so many beautiful properties and projects in your business – what is your favourite style of design personally? Any buildings or homes in particular that you really admire or were memorable to work on?

It’s true, we have had the privilege of contributing to many masterpieces across some of Australia's most iconic homes and developments. It's really tough to select just one standout (especially given our relationships with our clients) but one that continues to be etched into my memory is the Penthouse at Edition! I loved the design, and getting to be involved from the outset made it a really memorable chapter in our journey.

On a personal note, whilst I do love modern design, there's a unique charm that renovated old Victorian and Edwardian homes possess. I love seeing the juxtaposition of history and contemporary design come together. I guess, while every project brings its own charm and challenges, it's these vintage, renovated beauties that hold a special place in my heart.

We hear you’re a bit of a restaurant buff – where you are enjoying for a nice meal at the moment?

Ha, that’s true. Nothing like some beautiful food enjoyed with good people. My go-to has always been France Soir, whether it’s for a date night or for celebrating a win with our team (it’s conveniently close to the office) I love that you can rely on it always being top notch. But, my new favourite is Di Station in Carlton where both the food and team make you feel like you are in Italy - which is ideal considering the Milan trip can only reasonably be justified once a year ;)