The company Dark has existed for four years and been operational for three. In this short period of time, the company has managed to carve itself a good niche in the European market with unique, eye-catching lighting equipment.

By Bie Luyssaert

The art of being different

To give a lighting company the name "Dark" is quite a statement. Dark has made a real effort to be different from the outset, making a number of conscious choices back in 2000.

The first choice was to work only with external and not necessarily well-known designers. The success of this choice lies in the fact that Dark has purposefully opted for designers who like to colour outside the lines and step across boundaries. Marnick Smessaert, manager of Dark, calls them all "young & angry designers".

Marnick Smessaert likes to opt for originality when it comes to choosing new products. None of their lamps copies existing pieces of lighting equipment and Dark does not give anyone the chance to copy them either.  All printed material and the website contain warnings of the serious financial risks of copying Darks' ideas.

These two basic rules have given Dark a collection that stands out from what most other lighting manufacturers have to offer. Creating lamps is not limited to materials, machinery or a pre-existing collection. Dark seeks out designers with an idea of what light could be.

In 2001 Dark had 7 designers. Since then the group has grown to 14 designers and a highly diverse collection full of daring and emotion. Dark does not see its designers as part and parcel of a marketing strategy, but rather as the basis, the source of creativity from which it all begins. The company works together with the designer in the development process, they work together to find ways of turning an idea into reality. Thanks to its ever-changing creative process, Dark has a collection that is highly varied yet extremely combinable.

Dark is not only committed to its group of designers, but also to its customers. Once they believe in an idea and are going to produce it, they immediately produce an edition. This means customers can order the product without long waiting lists. Thanks to this service, in only three years time Dark is already exporting to 21 countries. The company started in Belgium and neighbouring countries and now delivers to Australia, Mexico and the United States. And the fact that their products have been acclaimed not only at the Henry van de Velde Awards, but also the Red Dot Awards, the Dutch Design Prizes and the D&D Awards has also served to strengthen their image abroad.