In conversation with: Victoria Rothschild of Rothschild & Bickers

Rothschild & Bickers produce gorgeous handcrafted glass lighting. Co-founder Victoria Rothschild tells me about the company ethos, their first big break and her favourite possession

When did you start the company? We founded Rothschild & Bickers in 2003 but Mark and I had previously been working together for some time. Mark worked as a glass blowing assistant in First Glass (in Oval, London) with a friend of mine and so we had met socially once or twice before starting at the RCA. He was the only person I knew on the first day, so we automatically clung together. We ended up becoming glass blowing partners during our two years at college and assisted each other to make pieces in the workshop.

Victoria Rothschild and Mark Bickers studied at the RCA

Are you based in the UK? Yes, we are. Our London showroom is in Islington and our studio is in Hertford.

Tell me about your first big break? Our big break was when we were asked to make some lighting for Ted Baker. They were designing the interior of their Westbourne Grove store and looking for glassblowers to make a statement piece, my flatmate at the time happened to be working there and put us in touch.

Initially it was Mark who was more interested in glass lighting design even though we were both glassmakers. He had designed a collection of cut crystal pendant lighting for his graduation show at the RCA. My work was very different, more sculptural and larger in scale. I was interested in how you could use glass within architecture.

The project for Ted Baker complimented both our skill sets and allowed us to experiment with glass, the perfect platform for us to grow as design partners. Success allowed us to work on more stores and the income from this eventually allowed us to spend more time in the studio building a business.

We recognised a niche in the market for pendant lighting, particularly within the commercial market of retail and restaurants and decided to set up Rothschild & Bickers.

Liquid pendant lights

Can you describe the Rothschild & Bickers style? Our style is a combination of Mark and I having an admiration for heritage, craft and the decorative arts. If I were to choose three words to describe it: colourful, contemporary and captivating.

Do you produce set ranges as well as bespoke pieces? We have 19 glass lighting collections and we also have a bespoke offering. The collections are curated into best-selling colours and finishes however, each design can be made in 16 colours and with a choice of metal finishes from brass to nickel, bronze and copper as well as endless flex options.

We also work with interior designers and architects around the world to create pieces for residential homes, hotels and restaurants. Sometimes these are one-off designs, sometimes they are variations on our retail offering.

Nouveau Bell wall lights in Tea glass

Do you still blow glass? I don’t anymore. I can blow glass to an adequate standard, but Mark is the master glassblower, he has over twenty years’ experience and is in production every day crafting our designs.

Tell me about your new website? Previously our website wasn’t an e-shop and we felt that was an important development for us as a brand.

We have our full range of 19 collections available to shop online and that covers pendants, wall lights and clusters. With the website we also wanted to make it easy to use for customers and trade clients and I think we have achieved that.

Within the site we have a bespoke section which provides inspiration and information on our bespoke and custom offerings allowing easy navigation based on space, solution or finish. We also have an explore section in which you can discover a little bit more about us, our London showroom, our studio and our team. And we also share lots of project images that our clients have kindly shared with us to inspire anyone out there looking for ways to update their home with lighting.

What is your favourite possession? It would have to be Ted, my Coton De Tulear and Cavapoo cross.

(If you enjoyed this, you may also like my interview with Robbie LLewellyn lighting designer at Bert Frank)

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