D&R’s story begins with James Dowsing-Reynolds and a concrete light sculpture…
Our founder & designer
James is what you’d call a true creative. With a passion for detail and solving problems, he loves nothing more than getting to the nitty-gritty of how things work. This is what makes him such a brilliant product designer so you’ll often find him building prototypes or testing new materials in his workshop at HQ.
Aged just 16, James trained as a garden designer and at the time went on to become the youngest ever licensed garden designer on the Isle of Wight aged 20. He spent his early career managing garden centres but found he longed for a creative outlet and a better work-life balance…
A creative mind
Keen to put his creativity and practical skills to good use, James started experimenting with concrete sculptures and vintage lightbulbs.
After seeing a similar design in a magazine, Ally suggested he could make a more stylish version, and so he did! Having bought a few too many bulbs, James sold the spares on eBay, and it was there that the idea for D&R was born.
All of our products start life as an idea in James’ head. His specialty is solving problems for homeowners and he knows just how to make the more ‘boring’ things in our homes beautiful.
His exclusive collaboration with Michelin-star chef Michael O’Hare is just one prime example. Having met a few years earlier, James enlisted the help of Michael to paint 50 handmade porcelain shades in his signature style for this limited edition collection.
Living with neurodiversity
Like Ally, James is neurodiverse. They share a diagnosis of ADHD, but James also has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), something he wasn’t officially diagnosed with until his early 40s. This can make certain aspects of his work life challenging, but James uses it to his advantage as it gives him a unique perspective when developing new products.
Inspiring future designers
Always one to encourage others to share his passion for design, James volunteers his time to the brilliant cause that is Class Dynamix, empowering children to follow their passions.
He was also asked to judge a design competition at Leeds Beckett University and spoke at their annual Product Design Futures Conference in 2020, providing career advice for budding designers.
Where does his inspiration come from, you may ask? It could be visiting the latest international design show, spotting a colour trend at London Fashion Week, or just his own annoyances around the home… His drive to create brilliant things is unmatched.