Proper equipment. Extensive experience. Practiced skill.
All are essential in the life of Product Designer Reid McFarlin – whether in work or play. Most people would be surprised to learn that when he’s not behind his drawing board, creating new and innovative lighting solutions for Progress Lighting – he’s barreling down Class IV and V rivers, deep within the trenches of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Taking on unpredictable routes, congested chutes and challenging rapids, Reid relies on his equipment, experience and skill. Ironically, he would argue that all three are just as relevant to his job as a lighting designer. After all, with LED technology, the industry might just be moving at the precipitous speed of a Class V river.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at one of our valuable team members and the mastermind of many of Progress Lighting’s innovative lighting collections.
- 1. Have you always been interested in design?
My father is an architect, so my desire to become a designer manifested at a very young age. I always wanted to be like my dad, so architecture was naturally at the forefront of my mind growing up, which aligned well with my skills, abilities and passions for creating new things. Although I had an idea that I wanted to pursue a career in the art field, it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I really put a plan to that ambition. I learned about careers in Industrial Design and I never looked back. I attended the Industrial Design program at Columbus College of Art and Design. I have a background in shoe design, furniture design, automotive, and now my current industry of lighting.
- 2. Where do you find your inspiration?
I find that I get most of my inspiration from traveling, exploring, nature, and meeting new people. Of course, I love seeing and experiencing great design on its own – but it’s more intriguing to see the experience people have with a well-designed product. I’m always looking for ways to enhance the end consumer’s user-experience, so I enjoy the opportunity to see what environment they are using the product in and how they interact with each other. It always keeps my wheels spinning.
- 3. Can you share a sneak peek of what’s “up and coming” for Progress Lighting?
I have a few pendant families coming out in the next year that I’m very excited about: A modern silhouette caged pendant, an industrial vintage line of pendants and pendants with glass similar to lab beakers and tubes, among others. These new pendants offer a very unique, vintage electric feel. I’m excited to see how our customers respond, especially since industrial styled fixtures are in high demand.
- 4. What’s the next big thing in the lighting industry?
I’d have to say home automation. Today’s new home designs are all about making our lives easier through the use of advanced technology. While home automation is already here – automated lighting has yet to enter mainstream culture. With developing technology, I think it’s only a matter of time.
- 5. How has the rise of LED technology changed the way you design and work?
The rise of LED technology has definitely changed the way I have perceived the design of lighting. LEDs are creating a whole new avenue of design that was never possible before. We are no longer constrained to designs that revolve around the placement and appearance of the bulb. It really makes the possibilities limitless. Plus, the best part is that the technology is only getting better. It’s a very exciting time in the lighting industry.
- 6. What’s hot in the lighting industry right now?
Pendants are very popular right now. I find that a lot people love the idea of customizing a space with a pendant or collection of pendants, and new statement designs that function as a work of art are becoming increasingly prevalent.
- 7. What would people be most surprised to know about you?
I love living here in Greenville, S.C. because it’s located at the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I can easily quench my addiction to whitewater rafting and outdoor adventures. I kayak down class IV-V rivers and creeks at least 1-2 times a week – which still isn’t enough!