Business partners and designers, Celina Clarke and Simon Christopher of Melbourne-based lighting design, manufacture and retail company, ISM Objects credit the success of their business to a shared vision and cohesive approach to design.

ISM Objects is a reputed manufacturer and supplier of quality contemporary lighting with an established national distribution network, and products represented within gallery collections globally. ISM Objects manufactures all its products from its factory in Mentone, Melbourne, and also retails and distributes its lighting nationally.

Clarke and Christopher have been pivotal in establishing the company as a unique entity within the design and retail sector. Colleagues since university, Clarke and Christopher studied industrial design together before graduating to establish ISM Objects in 1990.

Where many of their industry counterparts simply import and retail lighting products, ISM Objects designs 75 per cent of its lighting range in-house with the rest conceived through collaborations with other Australian designers.

Co-Director of ISM Objects, Simon Christopher comments that their partnership has remained extremely strong throughout the 23 years they’ve been in business – both in terms of decision making and creative vision. 

The business partners employ a process-driven approach to design and manufacture, which has helped them become strongly established within the area of lighting.

Clarke and Christopher’s early designs have been recognised through numerous awards and travelling exhibitions: ISM Objects’ Madame Ruby lamp was exhibited throughout the USA, Europe and Asia in the mid-1990s, and is currently held within the Museum of Modern Art New York’s permanent collection.

Clarke and Christopher have also established ISM SPARKS, an ongoing program that fosters emerging Australian talent in lighting design.

ISM SPARKS has given birth to new lighting ranges from Australian designers Daniel Barbera, Trent Jansen, ZinkelCarpenter, bernabeifreeman, Keith Melbourne and Christopher Connell, all of which are represented within the ISM Objects portfolio.

ISM Objects’ range of decorative and custom-designed lighting is clearly focussed on Australian living and style. The company is also able to manufacture their lighting onshore and deliver on a 2-3 week lead time. Clarke says ISM’s factory facility is both a business advantage and a source of great enjoyment.

Clarke and Christopher recently opened a retail outlet in St Kilda, Melbourne, to support the design and production arm of their business. This outlet caters for both trade customers and everyday consumers. 

Clarke observes that working closely with ISM’s wide spectrum of clients is one of the most enjoyable elements of their business. ISM Objects’ engagement with their clients often involves some element of education into the critical importance of well considered, well designed lighting.

Clarke explains that the psychology of lighting is very important as it can make or break a space, adding that it’s about choosing the right colour temperature and the right solutions to suit the space, regardless of whether it is at home or in a more commercial setting. 

She concludes by saying that lighting should be a thoughtful process, and it should start with ISM Objects.