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Interview: David from Kozo Lamps

David and Anati Shefa of Kozo Lamp

David and Anati Shefa of Kozo Lamp

I just love finding out where people get their ideas from! Sometimes they can come from wildly unexpected places, others are prompted from a little daydreaming and some come from a lot of trial and error.

For Israelis David and Anati Shefa the idea to make lamps from galvanised iron pipes was definitely the result of much experimentation. But once they got the concept and design just right, they were off and now they produce a large range of lighting that combines an industrial edge with little bit of humour.

I asked David to tell me more …

Tell me about yourselves. What are your backgrounds?

I am an industrial designer born in Israel and Anati is a film editor, also born in Israel. We are married and we both started Kozo Lamp at the beginning of 2008.

Kozo Man Lamp

How cute is this guy? The magnetic, multi-functioning Kozo Man lamp.

Where did the idea to start Kozo Lamp come from and when?

The idea for Kozo Lamp came after we experimented with the raw materials at a studio we had in Tel Aviv. The R&D process took about six months before we had the first version of the first Kozo Lamp type: Kozo 1.

How did you go about making this happen?

After holding the first design in our hands, we realised that this product had a lot of potential in bringing a smile and joy to many people’s lives along with being a unique design object in their home or business. Realising we could create a positive effect in people’s lives by our designs brought us to the decision to start this business.

Does the word Kozo have a meaning? If so, tell me about it

Kozo is a word in Japanese and it has many meanings. The main two meanings that we connected with in relation to the design are: “naughty boy” and “life cycle”.

What, if any, challenges have you faced along the way? Tell me about them.

There were and always will be challenges in a business that deals with designing products for people. The very nature of it is dynamic and if we can refer to the main challenges, the first one might be delivering the idea that reliable products can be made out of existing raw materials and the second was using our knowledge and design skills to close the gap between what might seem like a sketch that someone made in his garage to a product that can proudly stand in contemporary design galleries and high-end designed homes, restaurants and many other locations.

After saying that, we can add a third main challenge – that is bringing our designs to the knowledge of design lovers around the world. It takes a lot of creative decisions and [you must] always be alert to what’s going on in the design scene and on the internet in general.

What does a typical day for you involve?

We open our eyes with a big smile because we wake up to a job that we love and that fills us with meaning. So, with that type of energy we get to the studio. Our workflow is organised weekly and every week we start producing the orders we received a week before, alongside the orders that are already in production. The production process of the Kozo Lamps includes producing all of the different parts that compose each type and then putting together each design according to the specific demands of the order. The production of an order may take between one to three weeks depending on the designs and quantity.

What’s been your favourite creation/design so far?

Every design has its own nature and character so our favourites change all the time. We actually have two Kozo Lamps in our home (one in the living room and one in the bedroom) that we replace every few weeks according to our current favourite. It’s funny but we feel like we need to give attention and affection to each design every now and then.

Where do you go to source your materials?

The raw materials are sourced from many places. Some are local and some are imported from various places around the world. The sourcing of the materials is dynamic and ever changing.

Tell me about some of the projects you have worked on?

We love working on commercial projects and collaborating with architects and interior designers.

A few months ago we did a lovely project with a restaurant in Birmingham, UK. They chose pendants and wall fixtures from our catalogue and the architect also wanted some tailored designs of chandeliers that would fit the large dining area. The result was beautiful!

It is fun to work with interior designers and we love creating tailored designs or modifying current designs according to specific needs of a project.

Kozo Lamp in the Riding House Cafe

Kozo Lamp worked with the architects of London’s Riding House Cafe on the design of their lighting

What do you do in your spare time?

We love spending time together – taking our three dogs and walking around the city. There is always something going on. Every Thursday evening friends come over to the workshop and we rearrange the space to be a small music studio. We have drums, a groove box, keyboard, guitars and some other instruments and we jam together.

What inspires you?

Everyday people inspire us the most. There is so much to be found when you sit and watch people in their daily routine. We love the urban space. The city is like a living organism and there are many corners that you can frame and find a lot of interest in. Textures, decay, materials and junctions where the old and new create interesting monologues.

Kozo Lamp at Nana Bar

Kozo Lamps feature above the bar of Nana Bar Restaurant in Tel Aviv

Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought?’ moment? Tell me about it.

We still do. It is exciting to be doing something that we love and are passionate about and receive good feedback from people about it.

What’s been a career highlight to date?

The first time we went live with the Kozo Lamps on the internet and they became viral. It was, and still is, very exciting!

Do you have light bulb moments (excuse the pun!) or do ideas form over time? 

Ideas and designs tend to grow over time but there are moments where something suddenly clicks.

Do you have any new designs or projects for Kozo Lamp in the future that you can tell us about?

We are currently working on collaborations with various artists and designers and the outcome is very exciting.

Thanks David! And if you want to see more, check out this great video they produced which shows a sped-up version of a lamp being made to its delivery to someone’s home. 

And we’ll be featuring Kozo Lamp in our store very soon …

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