Anatomy Of A Design: Robin Baron Unveils A Fashion Forward Lighting Collection For Minka Group

Robin Baron, President of Robin Baron Design, joins us to discuss the design process in creating her new lighting collaboration with Minka Group. The collaboration, which also marks Minka’s 40th anniversary in business, draws from one of Baron’s primary sources of inspiration – her love of jewelry.

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop this new collection?
Robin Baron: I’ve been working on custom lighting designs for as long as I’ve been a designer (30+ years now, OMG), commissioning many custom light fixtures for my clients. I started focusing on designing these particular collections about 15 months ago when I signed the licensing deal with Minka Group. They saw my work and my designs, and they knew they wanted to partner with me to create a unique series of fab lighting fixtures for them.

Raymond: What was the overall timeline from conception to achieving the final design?
Robin: The overall timeline for this project was about 15 months, from signing the deal with Minka Group, fine-tuning the collections and designs, working with their design team and production team to make sure that my designs were correctly translated and still within their capabilities and parameters for production. This January we had the launch of the collections at the Minka Group showroom at Lightovation in Dallas.

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Robin: As with everything I do, my inspiration starts with fashion. To me, lighting is like the jewelry of a room. And I LOVE jewelry…big, bold, and fabulous jewelry. I have to say that a great deal of my inspiration for this project came from my clients. I have spent many years working with countless clients, all of whom have unique and individual needs and perspectives. These new lighting collections reflect a wide range of styles that I believe speak to the vast customer base that Minka Group has. I know that the Minka Group is incredibly pleased with how these collections turned out. Like every collaboration I work on, it has to be a win-win for everyone.

Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Robin: For every design I work on, I channel fresh creativity. I like to start with a clean slate and then allow the inspiration to flow. I don’t overthink or over-intellectualize. I let the creative inspiration start from a visceral feeling within me. Then, I sketch, translate the sketches into CAD drawings, and refine the details. I make sure to address the actual light output as well. I use my 30 plus years of experience and expertise to ensure the practicality of the fixture too. The fixtures will be beautiful, of course. Still, they have to serve the end-user well, providing a generous amount of even and soft lighting. I never underestimate the practical aspect of my designs. It has to be useful. It has to flow. It has to enhance the home. It’s part of the quality of life. As a designer, I am equally as concerned about the function of my designs as I am about beauty.

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Robin: I want to inspire, elevate, and create a positive environment for all people in their homes. I’m grateful to have partnered with Minka Group because they oversee a wide range of brands with price-points at all different levels. These new lighting collections are timeless. I can see people of all backgrounds appreciating them and bringing high-style and high-fashion into their homes.

Raymond: Did you utilize a new technique or technology to conceptualize this product?
Robin: We started out using 3D renderings to work on the initial design concepts. That’s how I presented my original designs to the Minka Group. Then they translated my designs, also using digital 3D modeling, to further develop the collections. We worked this way so that the collaboration of the design process and manufacturing techniques were addressed simultaneously.

Raymond: Please describe any challenges that affected the design and perhaps steered you to an entirely new final design?
Robin: The biggest challenge was creating these collections, working on the designs, and prototyping entirely remotely. Because this project occurred during the pandemic, everything was done through video conferencing and screen sharing, videos, calls, emails… exclusively digital communications. It’s beautiful to see that we could develop these incredible collections while being in different states and different countries. The pandemic sure has taught us a thing or two about how we can design, create, and do business in a whole new way.

Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos
Robin: I always say, “Confidence Begins at Home.” I am all about empowering people, using the home as the vehicle for empowerment. I want to open up the world of interior design so that everyone can be surrounded by beauty and have positivity in their lives. Your home is where you start and end your day, and if you feel good about your home, it helps you feel good about everything else in your life.

Images courtesy of Minka Group.

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