Our Story


Business partners and designers, Celina Clarke and Simon Christopher credit the ongoing success of their Melbourne-based lighting design, manufacture and retail business, ISM Objects, to a shared business vision and cohesive approach to design.

Clarke and Christopher have been pivotal in establishing the company as a unique entity within the design and retail sector. Where many of their industry counterparts simply import and retail lighting products, ISM Objects designs 75 per cent of its lighting in-house – the remaining 25 per cent conceived through collaborations with other Australian designers.

ISM Objects manufactures all its products from its factory in Mentone, Melbourne, and also retails and distributes its lighting nationally.

Colleagues since university, Clarke and Christopher studied industrial design together before graduating to establish ISM Objects in 1990.

A genuine interest in materials and process underpins the duo’s unique approach to design, and has been integral in establishing their lighting products within the Australian retail and trade market.

“We’ve always worked very closely and our partnership has remained extremely strong throughout the 25 years we’ve been in business – both in terms of decision making and creative vision,” said Co-Director of ISM Objects, Simon Christopher.

“Our process-driven approach to design and manufacture has seen us become strongly established with the area of lighting, as we design, produce and sell our lighting for both domestic and commercial environments,” said Christopher.

Clarke and Christopher’s early designs have been recognised through numerous awards and travelling exhibitions: ISM Objects’ Madame Ruby lamp showed throughout the USA, Europe and Asia in the mid-1990s, and is currently held within the Museum of Modern Art New York’s permanent collection.

In more recent years Clarke and Christopher have established ISM SPARKS, an ongoing program which fosters emerging Australian talent in lighting design.

ISM SPARKS has given birth to new lighting ranges from Australian designers Daniel Barbera, Trent Jansen, ZinkelCarpenter, bernabeifreeman, Keith Melbourne and Christopher Connell – all of which are represented within the ISM Objects portfolio.

Characteristic of ISM Objects’ range of decorative and custom-designed lighting is a clear focus on Australian living and style.

“All ISM’s products respond to the way we live and Australians’ unique aesthetic. We also offer a lot of different choices, thanks to our development of a full range of options within each collection of lighting,” said Clarke.

“Unique to ISM Objects is our ability to manufacture our lighting onshore and deliver on a 2 - 3 week lead time,” she said.

Clarke says ISM’s factory facility is both a business advantage and a source of great enjoyment.
“Simon and I have always enjoyed manufacturing, there’s always something new to investigate – whether it’s material or manufacturing and process. And at the moment there’s a lot of new technology in lighting.”

Clarke and Christopher have opened a retail outlet in St Kilda, Melbourne, to support the design and production arm of their business.

Here, Clarke and Christopher cater for both trade customers and everyday consumers.
Clarke said that working closely with ISM’s wide spectrum of clients is one of the most enjoyable elements of their business. She said ISM Objects’ engagement with their clients often involves some element of education into the critical importance of well-considered, well designed lighting.

“The psychology of lighting is so important – it can make or break a space. It effects how you perceive a space, and it’s vital to get it right, and create an ambience,” said Clarke.

“It’s about choosing the right colour temperature and the right solutions to suit your space – whether that be at home or in a more commercial setting. Lighting should be a thoughtful process, and it should start with ISM Objects.”