I discovered ARPEL Lighting in Milan, through my friend who manages marketing and social media at the Wallpaper (magazine) e-store. We both lusted over the lithe, unembellished designs of the French brand, specifically the Fine 400 Noir LED desk lamp, which I eventually received as a graduation gift from my brother.
Since February, I have relished every instance that I sit down at my desk and run my finger across the top of the aluminum diffuser, which has a touch-sensitive power switch. The strip of jewel-like LEDs illuminate at three levels of brightness, the first of which is nearly surgical in quality. I usually keep it on the lowest setting—plenty bright for daily use.
To express my satisfaction, I have commented one too many times on ARPEL’s Instagram posts and recently struck up a dialogue with the brand’s cofounder, FX Balléry, based in Paris.
Below, questions and answers verbatim from my e-mail exchange with FX (François-Xavier):
Hi FX – I missed you this morning. But, not a problem – I wrote down some of the questions I had for you.
You are welcome to reply here to them or if a call is easier, give me your Skype and I will call you sometime next week when you’re available.
Q: What are the goals of ARPEL? How is it different from other lighting brands? What are your hopes for it – in terms of growth/markets, etc.?
A: ARPEL Lighting was born with the expansion of the LED technology. The company’s previous name was GOODBYE EDISON as a wink to the disparition of classical light bulbs.
So our DNA is to always try to use this technology at its best. Either in terms of aesthetic, size, connectivity, interaction…
We would love to be seen as a reference in the coming years of decorative LED lighting companies.
The job is hard with all the qualitative companies that already exist but we want to keep on sharing worldwide our designs and passion.
Q: What’s your daily life like to own and operate ARPEL? I assume you have various sales channels and make efforts to market your brand in different ways.
A: Well my days are multitasks days. I usually start by making a point with our factory in China. For example working on the new product development or custom lamps ordered by our customers.
Then it goes from answering emails, working on quotes, shipping orders, working on our catalogs…
As I come from fine art studies, marketing is my weak point but I have the help of my sister to do so. We still have to be better on this point to be honest 😉
Q: How have sales + reaction been to your product? Positive?
A: We had the chance to always get a warm welcome. The design and quality of the products have always been appreciated.
By adding our latest product and first suspension light U-SERIES designed by Belgian designer Sylvain Willnez we now attract more attention from interior designers than before.
Q: How much of your business is custom work vs. off-the-shelf models?
A: All the previous collection of table lamps were not customizable. Thanks to the clever idea behind U-SERIES, we now offer the possibility to interior designer to make their own size and shape (in the limits of the technics).
U-SERIES suspensions can be imagined from one single module of U to a maximum 16U. In line or round, square, rectangle… shapes.
Q: What is the lighting industry like? Who are your “competitors” and who are your target “clients”?
A: The industry is super competitive with big, medium and small size companies that propose really interesting products.
Light in itself is so magical with so many ways to work with that the industry proposes a wide range of proposals.
In this industry we have the size of an insect. We want to be for our competitors some sort of mosquito 😉
Really small but noisy to attract the attention ;-))))))))
Q: And, is there anything else you’d like to add? I want to write a brief blog post about Arpel.
A: It’s a really hard challenge, really fragile but soooooooooo interesting.
Some say that the importance or the value is not the result but the way you took to achieve it.
The ARPEL Lighting catalog is here.