Interview with Charlotte De Belle, Founder of Vertical Design, Region's First Neon and LED Art Studio

Interview with Charlotte De Belle, Founder of Vertical Design, Region's First Neon and LED Art Studio

Step into the luminous world of Vertical Design, where light becomes an art form and spaces transform into canvases of emotion. Founded by the visionary Charlotte De Belle, Vertical Design blends the craftsmanship of traditional neon with the sleek allure of modern LED flex. The studio aims to elevate spaces and celebrate the art of light, offering curated designs on a large scale.

Embark on an inspiring journey with Charlotte De Belle, founder of Vertical Design, as she takes us through the inception of Vertical Design, the fusion of old and new artistic techniques, and the commitment to sustainability in the creation of breathtaking neon and LED masterpieces.

Charlotte de Belle is a French artist with a lifelong dedication to creative endeavors. Transitioning from advertising to design, she has traversed a diverse artistic landscape while exploring various artistic mediums. Immersing herself in the intricacies of neon light, Charlotte honed her skills in New York under the mentorship of David Ablon, a globally recognized pioneer in neon tube bending. By blending the classic charm of neon with a modern touch, Charlotte de Belle's sculptures give a fresh perspective to a medium often seen as cold and commercial. Having mastered this captivating artistry, Charlotte embarked on her journey to establish Vertical Design in Dubai.

Inspired by over 11 years in the creative industry as a creative director, Charlotte set on a journey in 2018 to create art with light. Drawn to the captivating allure of light and fueled by a passion for its transformative energy, she sought knowledge in the vibrant atmosphere of New York. With a desire to fill a niche in the local industry, she established Vertical Design, a unique studio in Dubai that seamlessly merges traditional neon and modern LED flex, offering a diverse range of artistic possibilities.

At Vertical Design, the fusion of traditional neon in glass and contemporary LED flex is an art form. The studio specializes in crafting traditional neon in glass, a handmade art form dating back to its discovery in 1910. Alongside, they also embrace the modernity of LED for its distinct vibe and appeal to the audience. This artistic duality allows Vertical Design to cater to a wide audience and offer varied services with distinct vibes and price points.

The creative process at Vertical Design is a personalized journey. Generally, customers arrive with an idea or a desire to infuse their space with a neon ambiance. The studio provides a personalized and comprehensive creative service, engaging in a one-on-one consultation to delve into the customer's preferences, mood, and intended use of the light. Charlotte says,

"Our creative process is a personalized journey with our customers. From conceptualizing ideas to crafting custom pieces, we offer a one-on-one service. Whether it's traditional neon or modern LED, we provide a full-service experience, including installation."

From personalized lights to logos and prints on backgrounds, the studio caters to diverse requests, including those from B2B clients for corporate branding or events. Traditional neon pieces are carefully handcrafted in the studio using imported glass, while the online material is sourced and hand-bent with precision. On the other hand, LED pieces are assembled using a flexible tube affixed to an acrylic background. This offers a 180-degree view compared to the 360-degree glow of traditional neon.

At Vertical Design, they offer a complete service that includes installation. In the case of an LED piece, it is ready to use and comes with easy-to-follow instructions for you to install on your own. Since traditional neon lights are delicate and can break easily, the studio recommends having their skilled team handle the installation.

Vertical Design engages with clients to bring their ideas to life in radiant art pieces. Charlotte says that prospective clients can initiate contact through WhatsApp or email, or they have the option to visit the showroom located in Al Quoz Industrial One. She continues,

“With an extensive range of colors and customization options, we transform their ideas into bespoke luminous art pieces.”

Vertical Design boasts an extensive array of over 22 colors available in LED, all displayed in the showroom, so clients can witness the visual possibilities firsthand. Additionally, the studio offers a limited edition service on its website, allowing customers to personalize colors and receive made-to-order pieces, delivered within a timeframe of 8 to 10 days.

Charlotte possesses a deep affinity for neon artistry. She has been able to shape the artistic direction and ethos of the company through personal experience and expertise. Beyond being a business founder, she is inherently a neon artist. She says,

"As the founder and a neon artist at heart, I infuse art into Vertical Design's ethos. We are not just a signage company; we are here to light the way to extraordinary experiences, making people feel special when they enter a space."

The company aims to illuminate the way to extraordinary experiences through the light that evokes emotions upon entering a space. This dedication to creating impactful and memorable experiences is a central focus of the team.

Vertical Design also extends its commitment to sustainability. Charlotte shares the eco-friendly practices they follow at the company, saying,

"Our commitment to sustainability is evident in our choice of materials. Neon, made from glass, is not only durable but also repairable. LED, while having a lifespan, is energy-efficient. Both contribute to our eco-friendly approach to artistic creations."

Charlotte explains that neon lights, crafted from glass, stand out as an eco-friendly choice due to their sustainable materiality and the absence of internal filaments. Although breakable, the glass can be repeatedly fixed through the meticulous process of glass blowing. The use of LED flex also emphasizes sustainability as it consumes less energy though it comes with a limited hourly lifespan.

Working with neon and LED lights comes with its challenges, especially considering the fragility of traditional neon. Many customers are drawn to neon lights without a deep understanding of the medium. In addition to neon, Vertical Design introduces LED lights, distinguishing itself as one of the few companies in the GCC to specialize in both mediums. This dual expertise allows the studio to educate clients on the differences between neon and LED lights. Additionally, they host neon workshops, providing enthusiasts with hands-on experiences, allowing them to bend glass and delve into the intricate world of neon light creation.

Vertical Design actively contributes to the vibrant local art scene and community in Dubai. They participate in various events, notably in Al Quoz Creative Zone, DIFC Art Night, and Dubai Design Week. They try to emphasize the emotional impact that light can bring to personal and communal spaces.

Charlotte hosts a Neon Discovery workshop to provide hands-on experience. The workshop offers a private and flexible experience lasting an hour and a half. Participants can book sessions in the morning, afternoon, or night through the website and then coordinate a suitable date. This workshop is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the art of neon light. Participants delve into the medium's history, and its intricate processes, and even get hands-on experience bending glass in the fiery workshop environment.

Looking ahead, Charlotte envisions neon art as a timeless trend. Vertical Design, however, is not just following trends; it is setting them. Their vision centers on cultivating a sustainable future for neon and creating impactful neon pieces. The team aims to evoke emotions and leave a lasting impression on clients, whether in hotels, food and beverage establishments, or private residences.

Vertical Design continues to illuminate spaces with timeless artistry and leaves an indelible mark on the canvas of experience.

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