Hotel Suppliers reporter, Manon Martini, interviews EBB & FLOW director and founder, Susanne Nielsen, to explore the intersection of business and artistry in the world of unique lighting design.

In a world of trend-setting and fast fashion- authenticity and personality is paramount in the interior design sector. EBB & FLOW, a brand that has been making waves in the industry for the past decade, is a testament to this ethos. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Susanne Nielsen, the creative force and founder behind EBB & FLOW, to delve into the brand’s humble inception and evolution.

Manon Martini: Let’s start at the beginning. How did EBB & FLOW come into being?

Susanne Nielsen: EBB & FLOW is about 10 years old as a brand, but my journey in the interior industry started long before that. I used to live in the UK for many years where I worked and studied in sales and business. Over time, it became natural for me to venture into something more creative. Initially, I began with vintage furniture and unique pieces sourced from Eastern Europe. About a decade ago, I realised that glass and lighting were my true calling. That’s when I started creating simple lamp fixtures, often within wine containers. I felt there was a gap in the market for decorative lighting that brought warmth, color, and personality. Everything seemed too functional, white and mass-produced.

Manon Martini: So, the transition from business to creative was quite organic?

Futura Pendant Lamp

Susanne Nielsen: Absolutely. Being a Scandinavian living in London for many years also gave me a unique perspective and my approach became vividly unique. While my background was commercial, my creative side had been blossoming for years- It’s a gradual process of training your eye through countless flea markets and antique shops. EBB & FLOW is a culmination of all those experiences and influences.

Manon Martini: Can you tell us more about the creative process behind your designs?

Susanne Nielsen: Each design begins with the art of getting bored. I find that the more bored I am, the more creative I become. Gardening helps me immensely in this regard. Inspiration can come from anywhere – a perfume bottle or a random antique market find. It usually starts as a pencil sketch, evolves into a 3D drawing, and then we have trusted glass and electric suppliers to bring the design to life. Depending on the complexity, it can take up to a year to finalize a design, from the initial idea to the finished product.

Manon Martini: That’s quite a meticulous process. Do you think your business background has been an advantage in this industry?

Smykke Pendant Lamp

Susanne Nielsen: Initially, it made things harder as I hesitated to embrace my creative side and acknowledge myself as an ‘artist’. However, my practical and non-precious approach has proven to be an asset. Working with technical experts in the field has been an exciting collaboration, and my business background allows me to empathize with customers’ needs.

Manon Martini: It sounds like a blend of business acumen and artistic flair. Are there any particular designs or pieces that hold a special place in your heart?

Susanne Nielsen: One design that stands out is “Futura.” It’s quite distinctive and represents the modern woman with its brainy head and curves. I believe it can soften up any room. Many of our designs hold personal significance and are inspired by the world around us, like “Horizon” or “Smykke.”

Manon Martini: Do you often see symbolism in your designs?

Horizon Pendant Lamp

Susanne Nielsen: Yes, many of them have symbolic meanings to me. “Horizon” invites you to look beyond, while “Smykke” resembles an oppulant earring. The latest addition, “Aspire,” reflects the aspiration to emerge positively from the pandemic. It’s both a shape and an aspiration.

Manon Martini: What can we expect from EBB & FLOW in the near future?

Susanne Nielsen: We’re constantly innovating. I’m currently working on new colors, a new lamp design, and a unique crystal pattern. Some smaller releases might arrive before Christmas, with more significant updates planned for next year.

EBB & FLOW, under the creative guidance of Susanne Nielsen, continues to illuminate the world of interior design with unique, artistic, and timeless lighting solutions. With a blend of business acumen and a keen artistic eye, Susanne Nielsen’s creations bring a touch of warmth and personality to interiors worldwide. Stay tuned for EBB & FLOW’s upcoming designs that promise to be as innovative and captivating as their existing portfolio.