Husband and wife Dom and Arabella Parish first met as furniture design students and, since 2000, have been designing and making bespoke fine furniture.

They have spent decades working with materials from the forest – creating objects useful and decorative from the finest woods available – from entire kitchens and vast walk-in wardrobes, down to small but perfectly-formed salt dishes.

Until a section of ash veneer momentarily left on the workshop's lightbox inspired a Sylvie – new range of lighting designed with a regard for simplicity of form and made with attention to detail and finish.

Whereabouts are you based?

We’re based in our workshop in Semley, just outside Shaftesbury. It’s a thriving industrial estate that’s home to all sorts of interesting small businesses from metalworkers to coffee-roasters, mechanics to antiques dealers. Having that range of skills and knowledge close to hand can be very useful.

How influenced are you by the Dorset landscape?

The surrounding countryside has a profound impact. From Win Green or the top of Hambledon Hill the views are breath-taking – the dramatic curves and contours of the land, the patchwork of lush greens and golds as the fields and woodland stretch into the distance and down to the coast; the play of light and shadow as clouds race across the huge sky. We're very lucky to be surrounded by the Dorset landscape – it lifts the spirits and is a constant source of inspiration.

Do you have a signature “Sylvie style”, when it comes to lighting?

The ‘Sylvie style’ is all about the beautiful hardwood veneers we use. These sheets of wood – so thin they’re translucent – are curved round and lit from behind to bring out the graceful lines of the grain while casting a glorious radiance around the room. A splash of colour in the form of dyed veneers adds another vibrant dimension. Not to distract from the beauty of the wood, we keep the form as simple and unfussy as possible.

How has the company/range grown since its inception?

As much as we can predict what will be popular, until the lights have been seen by a wider audience, it’s impossible to know exactly how they’ll be received. Much of the feedback from customers and visitors to our inaugural stand at the London Decorex exhibition, has helped us shape the direction of the range. We’re still new and still learning who our customers are and what they want.

Do you think people are turning more towards natural materials, including wood, now when it comes to interior design?

Hopefully! The natural beauty and practicality of wood in the home has been present since time began, and more so than ever now. The movement for turning away from polluting plastic towards the purity of natural materials is gaining momentum and it’s the ultimate renewable source – fell tree; plant a tree – it even cleanses the environment while it’s maturing. If only the reality were as perfect as the theory!

How important is it that we design our homes sustainably?

We all need to furnish our homes more responsibly – the planet needs as much help as possible. That means reducing consumption by buying antique, vintage and upcycled furniture, as well as new. And if something new is our choice, we need to make sure that it’s good quality, built to last from sustainable materials and that it hasn’t been shipped half way round the world. Thinly slicing trees to create veneers was a process first created by the ancient Egyptians as a way of making the precious commodity of wood go further, so we’re taking advantage of ancient sustainability methods.

Tell us more about the charity connections the company has, and why this was so important to you?

Sylvie supports The Sylva Foundation, an environmental charity working across Britain to help forests thrive, and The Woodland Trust, which works for the protection of ancient woods and trees. We have also pledged to plant a tree for every light we sell. Recently the Sylvie team got out of the workshop and spent the afternoon in a nearby valley planting oak and birch saplings. It’s very satisfying work and we’re all excited about seeing this woodland grow and expanding it in the future.

How are you looking to develop further in the future?

To be carbon-neutral is a firm goal – we’re a way off that but we’re constantly looking at ways to improve our sustainability. We have new exciting, designs for lights in the pipeline, but are also mindful that a huge range isn’t necessarily the answer. We’d rather create fewer, better thought-through pieces that answer wider lighting needs, but create less impact on the environment.

Sylvie, Semley Industrial Estate, Semley, Shaftesbury 01747 448500