Christmas lights may no longer be just for Christmas, thanks to Paul Dart and James Glancy.
The bosses of James Glancy Design are transforming retail and public spaces, bringing spirits to St James’s, Central London, and illuminating shopping centres such as the Intu chain.
‘Aged ten, I decided to be a theatre designer,’ said Dart. ‘I ended up at The National doing shows for Sir Ian McKellen and Mark Rylance. I did it all – sets, costume and lighting, which was unusual.’
Lit up: Paul Dart with lights for the Crown Estate, top.
Dart was approached by Nicky Kinnaird, who founded cosmetics chain Space NK in 1993, to do non-traditional, ‘girly’ Christmas decorations.
‘James and I put our credit cards together to cobble up something,’ he said.
Busy: James Glancy Design staff are already welding Christmas decorations
‘Five years later the firm had grown to a point where I had given up theatre and James had given up marketing.
‘Sometimes you’re in the middle of Regent Street in the pouring rain with 20 or 30 riggers around and all hell breaking loose and you think, ‘I don’t know how this happened’.
‘But for me it’s the same as doing a show, it’s telling a story.’
The firm is conjuring up ways to keep Christmas lights up for longer.
Dart said they had proved popular and cheered people up, adding: ‘The point is to brighten up the darkest, most depressing time of year.
‘We do a lot of permanent design for London’s Carnaby Street and sculptures stay up permanently as there is a call for it through to spring.’