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The language of intimacy sparks new ideas for Nate Sprecher

Behind the life of a creative director and founder of SPRK.

Written by Gantri Editorial Team

Jul 16, 2021

Welcome to Community Spotlight where we bring you stories from designers, artists, and creators who inspire us. Here you’ll get a behind the scenes look at the creative lifestyles of some of our favorite people and the ways they’re living at home with Gantri.
Today, we’re chatting with Nate Sprecher, San Francisco based creative director and the visionary behind SPRK studio. He shares his path to design and how the universal language of intimacy has inspired his process, products, and lifestyle.

At what age did you decide you wanted a career in art and design? Was there a defining moment?
I think it was probably before I was even 10. I can remember being in a grocery store with my mom and being really interested in the packaging – the colors and patterns. When I was a teenager I loved Diesel – while maybe cheesy now, their ad campaigns were so intimate and revolutionary for their time, I was obsessed with them. As I got older and learned more about marketing, I realized while fine arts might not be for me, design definitely was.

You’ve worked with a ton of technology, fashion, and editorial brands. Was there a specific experience that helped shape your career?
I started off at an ad agency called Syrup and they were doing some really cool things with brands like Marc Jacobs and Bottega Veneta. Beginning with those high-end brands really made me want to work in that space. In New York it was fashion and now in San Francisco, it’s tech.

Recently, you designed your first lights under your brand, SPRK. Designing pixels on a screen versus a physical end product is quite different. What was that experience like?
There was definitely a learning curve to try and envision things in a 3D space. I had to start out drawing in 2D and work with an engineer to create the files to go to printing. The technical aspect was definitely not something I was used to focusing on, I’m more about the look and feel of a product.

We love a challenge! What made you want to take that leap and design a light collection?
I’ve always been into interior design and spaces but most of my work happens within a screen from the design to the end product. I really wanted to take my experience outside into the physical world where something could last longer than an ad campaign. The idea of designing something that would end up in someone’s home felt really intimate to me.

How has it been to now see SPRK lights in people’s homes?
It’s great, for someone to pass over other brands, other lights and choose one of mine – it really makes me feel special. It feels like I’m being invited into their home. I love receiving photos and seeing that people are placing their lights exactly how I envisioned them.

Intimacy is a big theme for you. SPRK is about using lighting to set a mood for intimate moments. Can you talk about the connection between how we feel and the ambiance of our homes?
I think when people come home they want to leave their stress behind and have a comfortable space to relax in. When we’re at work we tend to be around a lot of harsh, overhead lighting meant to keep you awake and active and I think it’s important to transition to soft, warm lighting in our personal space when we are done for the day.

How does SPRK enter that conversation?
I designed both lights to enhance intimate moments at home. Discus offers the perfect glow to illuminate your bedside while Ember is meant to function as a gentle beacon guiding you to and from your entryway. I wanted this sense of intimacy to be represented in the branding as well. Intimacy is such a universal language and I wanted to make sure to showcase all types of people – queer people, people of color – in the work.

Let’s talk about lighting in your own life. How do you use it to create intimate moments personally?
I think candles can be great both for their look and scent. I always gravitate towards leather or tobacco scented candles. I also just love to make my space as cozy as possible for my guests with lots of pillows and blankets. I even purchased a couch that is almost like two beds put together for maximum comfort. You can check out my complete list of tips in the full blog post.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Nate’s work, you can follow @sprkstudio on Instagram.