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Meet the design duo behind Phoebe Lamps

Phoebe Lamps is the brainchild of partners – in work and life – Peter Harding, an architect/designer, and  Åsa Jonasson, a product designer, who run the brand from their Adelaide design studio, Where North Meets South. But Phoebe Lamps isn’t just a brand; both the concept and the design are very deliberate and unique. Mixing Australian and Swedish influences, Peter and Åsa have created simple and elegant lamps but with a special twist – a customisable lamp you can update yourself at any time! Whenever you tire of the old design, simply pop out the paper insert and slot in printed paper, an artwork, photograph, map, children’s drawings or even fabric to transform your lamp.

For their latest range, Peter and Åsa have combined forces with other Australian designers – including hardtofind’s very own Art Director, Harriet Morgan – to come up with a gorgeous range of original designs. So for hardtofind design month, we just knew we had to talk to the two brilliant minds behind the idea.

Peter Harding and Åsa  Jonasson
Peter Harding and Åsa Jonasson of Phoebe Lamps

What inspired Phoebe Lamps?
The Phoebe lamp concept was inspired by ideas around adaptable lighting. At the time, we were playing around using various materials readily available to us. Sustainability and user needs always play a part in our design process, which is evident in Phoebe’s unique customisable concept. We decided early on that we wanted the lamps to be locally made while still aiming to be affordable. The flat-packed format was a result of us travelling, moving houses and finding lighting crucial to make the space we live in.

Why did you decide to collaborate with different designers?
Collaborations have always been part of our design approach and are something that we intend to continue do more and more of. We find the Scandinavian tradition of collaboration, seen in companies like Marimekko and 10 Gruppen, really inspiring. As a small and emerging creative business, we also see the benefits in combining networks and utilising the strength that comes from group work. With our first Design Art Collection (released in Feb 2015) we also wanted to push the boundaries of what a lamp can be. By using original art and print work, we wanted to convey the potential of the unique customisable Phoebe Lamp.

How do you find designers to work with?
We always keep an eye out for designers, artists and illustrators whose work we think will suit the lamp format. For our first collection all contributing designers were Australian but in the future we’re planning to work with Swedish designers and other international creatives.

Explain the process of designing a new lamp.
The process we use when creating new prints for the lamps differ when doing our own designs compared to when we are collaborating.

With this being our first collection with collaborations, we did in some instances have an artist’s specific work in mind as a starting point while with others it is more open ended. Our intention was to show the diversity of the designers and also the versatility of the lamps. In Harriet’s [hardtofind Art Director] case it was the latter. She had lots of great print design ideas for us that were refined to suit the lamps.

After the initial submission process we work with the designers to get the detailing and scale right for the lamps. The designers are provided with a lamp to refer to or we work more closely with the designer at our end to test the print design. Effects like the curving form of the lamp and the main front view need to be considered for the final print design to work.

When designing the prints ourselves, we can start with anything from a customer request, homewares trends, noticing a gap in the market or simply because we have a pattern idea! A lot of our inspiration comes from details in everyday life which we then apply to a print design.

We sometimes test the designs on friends and family, sometimes on social media and quite often we bring new ideas to design markets to get the direct feedback from customers.

Where do you keep the Phoebe Lamps in your house?
Everywhere! We have Phoebe A3s on our bedsides tables, a Phoebe Original in the lounge room and we alternate lamps in the guest bedroom. We are often changing the designs in the lamps, either trying out new designs or whenever we feel the room needs some new ambience.


  1. Phoebe original entanglement with tri-base$249, sold with natural finish base
  2. Phoebe A3 watermelon lamp with tri-base$139
  3. Phoebe capital city wildlife lamp, coming soon to htf
  4. Phoebe original flowering cactus lamp$119
  5. Phoebe travelling window lamp, coming soon to htf
  6. Phoebe A3 alps lamp$119, sold with x-base 

Shop the full Phoebe Lamps collection here.

hardtofind design month
March is Design Month at hardtofind! We’re exploring the hottest trends and up-and-coming finds for 2015, as well as classic looks from around the world that never go out of style. Check out all our design month posts here.

Hardtofind is Australia’s leading online curated marketplace for gifts, fashion and homewares.