Nicolas Roope launched Plumen in 2011 with Michael-George Hemus. Plumen is an energy-efficient light bulb with design credentials. Six years later, Plumen has become a full lighting company, and the bulbs are now the illumination of choice for hospitality establishments from Bratislava to Jakarta.
Nicolas is the driving force behind their product and brand vision. Outside of the lighting world, Nicolas is world renowned as a design, digital and marketing innovator. As co-founder and Creative Director of Poke digital agency, he has helped shaped the online brand presence for the likes of Skype, EE, Top Shop, Ted Baker, UBS, Mulberry, Tiffany and many more.
What was your first memory of creativity?
I can’t remember too much about my early creative days. I did what most other kids did. I was particularly good at breaking things though. We might call it ‘deconstructing’ now. My cousin had two sets of toys. One set for him and his brother, and another set that came out when I came round to play.
What was your creative journey to get to where you are?
I liked a lot of subjects at school, including art. But never really excelled in anything. But as I got older and as I dug deeper into art’s more conceptual and philosophical sides, I found myself much more engaged and as a consequence more able. My 20 years working in industry as an artist and designer has really shaped the way I think about art and commerce, and particularly how important it is to manage the tension between the seduction of technology, the power of accounting and the raw truth that art can provide – if you know how to look for it.
What impact have big name clients had on your career?
They are managing this tension like anyone else, but with the greater problems associated with their scale and complexity. Solving creative problems with a small hungry business can be quite intuitive but a large multinational needs more rigour and structure. So good experience for developing discipline.
How do you establish your own style over a period of time and still stay relevant?
I don’t really have a style, which is partly how I can stay relevant. I try to be open at all times. So I can reflect back what’s happening now. My focus has been on technology that has undergone one revolution after another. You need to stay tuned in to change. And you HAVE to flex to survive.
Does your work/process develop thematically, or is it more distinctive and random?
I think I work in a similar way most of the time. But the world changes so fast, just following it forces changes and shifts.
What/Who has been the biggest influence on your work (and why)?
Marcel Duchamp. He helped to decouple ideas and craft. The artist and the maker used to be fused and now they can be separate. You’d think that might be detrimental to making. But I think it’s liberating.
What inspires you or provokes the motivation towards creativity within?
I don’t love creativity. I love ideas. My main motivation is to bring ideas out of my head and into the world. And of course you can call that creativity.
Which artists/designers do you admire or inspires you the most (and why)?
Duchamp as mentioned. Poul Henningsen, the Danish designer and commentator.
What is it you love most about what you do?
Walking down a random street in a random town in a random country and seeing something that was once an idea that wanted to come out.
Event Details: Conversations in Creativity (6.30pm) 4 May – Blackburn Cathedral