Stepping back in time
Horses, flamenco dresses and traditional Spanish uniforms – not exactly what we were expecting to report back about a manufacturer trip. However, Jess Travers and I were thrilled to visit Puente Genil, Spain to see Ilméx’s factory and the thousands of fittings they’d provided to the famous Seville Fair. Every year the small town of Seville fills with 1047 tents and five million people (over the course of one week), all dressed in beautiful traditional costumes and sporting huge smiles.
Once passed the amusement park area filled with children, we found ourselves in streets packed with horses and carriages, set off by garlands with close-knit draped lamps that softly lit the pedestrian paths. When the sun set the garlands all came to life, allowing us to completely forget about the modern world and imagine ourselves in the 1800s.
Unfortunately though the lighting took a beating as it hammered down with rain on the festival’s first evening leaving all the colourful paper shades broken, tired and hanging sadly in small strips. Personally, they reminded us of flowers so we didn’t mind, but Ilméx was well underway preparing new ones that they installed the same night: all 350,000 of them!
The traditional lighting at the festival may not have reflected the current Nulty architectural lighting design portfolio, but it was totally in tune with the vibe of the visitors. They didn’t come for a “new”, “inventive” or “mind blowing” scene, they came for the familiarity, warmth, friendliness and safety. And Ilméx got it just right.
Ilméx has emerged from the Spanish third generation family company Ximenez who carry a vast experience in decorative Christmas lighting; Ilméx was created to supply the international market. Their showroom was a journey through Christmas, with decorated Christmas trees, ornaments, edge lit acrylic, a lit Christmas bear and sparkling pendants. This is a company that has their feet safely planted on the ground but are not afraid to look out for new developments, and their factory proudly presented the latest in cutting, bending and printing technology.
Jess and I would like to thank Ilméx for bringing us along and providing us with tons of inspiration – from the 1800s through to modern day – for our future lighting design projects.
Blog post by Ida Evensen