Ilda Pires, Lead Designer, SERIP
SERIP was founded in 1961 by Mário J. Pires Lda at Portugal. His daughter Ilda Pires was born in Lisbon in 1959, who is now the main designer of the company. She has been a part of the company since she turned 16. She is responsible for the creation of the organic style that defines SERIP. With more than 30 years of experience creating lighting she tends to break the rules of the conventional. She is passionate with the expression of the design as a sculpture, where she translates her influences of the different cultures of the world. Ilda Pires talks to Lighting India about the about the industry and taking forward the company’s legacy.
How long has your family been in the business? Can you tell us about your process in the product category from start till date?
SERIP brand has increased in recent years, but its own history goes back to 1961, this is a family company with more than 55 years of experience who grew and evolves with the family. Initially the production was based on classic concepts, but evolving in the early 80’s to conceptual designs far ahead of its own time.
The concept and style of design refer to techniques that represented the Portuguese heritage in the past and that give value and importance to the artisan community, the remaining processes evolved on a large scale, enhancing the use of increasingly modern materials that enable new ways of building enlightenment.
In latest collections, the lighting sources followed the evolution of time, SERIP is keen to follow the market, creating lighting systems that are increasingly energy-efficient, sustainable and with less environmental impact, nevertheless the designers never gave up the aesthetic visual and use of manual techniques, which results in handcrafted art using organic shapes, more than lighting – art pieces.
We would like to know about the company evolution? How was it when your father started versus how is it after inheritance?
My father started to produce chandeliers, using glass and brass. At this early stage, the company assumed a very classic concept. During the early 80’s, SERIP created the first organic style piece (halogen cup chandelier), though the clients’ acceptance was not positive by then. The specific Design revealed itself too far ahead for its own time.
In 1985, SERIP started to explore International markets by participating in its first international trade Show in Paris at Parc des expositions de la Porte de Versailles. Until the end of 80’s, Mário J. Pires Company mainly produced for internal market.
In 2002, SERIP introduced the organic concept that would prevail in the company thereafter. Three years after, in 2005, launches the 1st catalogue with organic style pieces, named ‘Life Colour Motion’ and by 2007 the company feels the need to start producing personalised chandeliers, by measure.
The release of the ‘Mysterious’ catalogue in 2008 was a huge step in history of SERIP. It helped to set apart the company from the other brands and to totally differentiate the product from what has been done in the market so far. The dramatic and theatrical presentation of the products in this catalogue, based on the romantic Portuguese scenery, had a huge acceptance from the clients. This year is also marked by the end of the production of alabaster chandeliers.
SERIP introduces the first chandeliers with LED technology in 2011 and devotes totally to special lighting projects.
Contrast and dualities are the main concepts developed in the end of 2014 ‘Black & White moments’ catalogue. It embraces the Ying and yang, opposite or contrary forces that are complementary. The catalogue shows outstanding luxury ambiances mixed with astonishing lighting installations. In terms of scale and presentation it is something never done within the company.
Nowadays, with a strong presence in the international market, exporting more than 96 per cent of production, SERIP, reaches more than 77 countries on five continents.
Integrating the initial steps of the brand towards the path of internationalisation, SERIP is investing in mono brand Showrooms, now the brand has four monobrand showrooms around the world, Kiev, Jakarta, Singapore and Beijing.
How do you perceive the current market?
It is interesting to see that nowadays the interior design industry has adapted completely the bespoke concept and obviously the companies that produce the decoration items have to be flexible to answer that demand.
Fortunately we have been doing it for quite some years we have already developed the structure to deliver this kind of request. We are not talking only about the ten different metal finishing’s or forty different glass finishing’s that the client can customise in the standard product, we are actually talking about a complete world of possibilities when you present your idea to our project department. Sometimes the level of customisation is so high that it deviates completely of the standard item and becomes also the individual vision of the designer or architect. Of course that you can see this ability other companies and in the future you will see it even more, we think.
Concepts like unique, handmade and bespoke are the leading impressions in nowadays main strengths of designers and architects.
Can you talk about the future of your business into this market (current scenario)?
Our proposals for the future are to continuously delivery tailor-made pieces and grown the level of expertise. Those are the factors in which SERIP has been specialising and recognised, that stand us out as a differentiator, creating distance us from the competition. We intend to continue building a solid presence in the markets where we operate, always taking care to not massify our product.
One of the great advantages of craftsmanship is the possibility of customisation, a fact that gives the client the chance to make his project unique, custom made. For SERIP, it is very important that the customer feels that his product is exclusive, tailored-made and filled with passion.
Every produced piece is a singular and unique work of art, due to the almost entire absence of mechanic elements in the production process.
Our strategy seeks to reinforce our position as a leading lighting company with an organic concept and we pretend as we mentioned before, to reinforce the presence of the brand in the markets in which we are present, betting on the communication in a selective and focused publicity, and undoubtedly reinforce the presence in the media.
What suggestion would you like to give to the current entrepreneurs in the industry?
Our suggestion and advice is transversal to other industries. The message we convey even by our strategy and definition as a company is that players must always develop value propositions for the customer without ever losing focus on what defines them. So, bet on the differentiation of your products and the concept of the brand and do not copy ideas from other companies. Do not just be another one, invest in design and stand out.