A Q&A with Bret Englander of Cerno

You guys have been working with LEDs since Cerno started in 2009. How has your process or design changed with the technology of LEDs?
Most importantly, as the technology continues to evolve, the quality of light emitted by the LEDs is improving too. The quality of light you get from LEDs today was not achievable when we started the company. Our process is similar to when we started—for us, design and performance need to always be in concert with one another.

Camur Linear LED Suspension

The gentle curve of the Camur’s design ("camur" means curve in Latin) adds an organic element that falls in line with the company's relaxed vibe.

Tell us about the Camur. It’s simple and clean, but we imagine the idea and design process is not always so easy.
Any time you are looking at a fixture and trying to figure out how the manufacturer achieved what they did, it’s typically complex to fabricate. Co-founder and director of design Nick Sheridan definitely was not prioritizing manufacturability when he conceived this beautiful fixture. However, our engineers (led by co-founder and director of engineering Daniel Wacholder) came up with both an intelligent and strong solution. This fixture is built like a high-quality instrument.

How does a Cerno design move from idea to product?
Seamlessly. Ha ha! It’s a ton of hard work and involves a lot of really skilled designers, engineers and craftspeople working together to bring all of our products to fruition. We are vertically integrated, which means every step of the process happens at Cerno. This is a positive, because it gives us the opportunity to fully resolve each product, but also makes the process much more complex.

You’re southern California, through and through. What are some must-see/ must-do things for a design aficionado?
I honestly think that Southern California’s natural beauty is my favorite part about it. My business partners and I grew up in Laguna Beach and there are a lot of nook and cranny coves that are incredible. All of the Pasadena craftsman homes are beautiful, specifically the Gamble House. The Eames House (Case Study House #8) in Pacific Palisades and all the Eichler homes near us in Orange, California are worth a look too. I really want to go to Los Angeles’ newest contemporary art museum, the Broad, but have not been yet.

Do you have a favorite Cerno fixture?
I actually think my new favorite fixture is the Camur. It’s less rigid and more fluid than some of our other designs. It’s playful in the way it changes shape when you walk around it. I really dig the lines the Camur draws. I also really love the Vix; it’s beautiful in how simple and functional it is.

Is there anything you haven’t designed that you’d like to?
We are really looking forward to diving into outdoor fixtures, but not sure when they will debut. Hopefully 2016. Nick is one of the most talented designers I know and Daniel’s engineering skills are next level as well. We have no shortage of ideas—just time—so there is always a lot left in the creative tank.

What’s next for Cerno?
Like I mentioned, we are really excited to start developing some outdoor fixtures. We are also introducing a ton of new materials, like maple, brass and rose gold.

Behind the scenes with Cerno:

Nick Sheridan

Nick Sheridan, Cerno’s co-founder and director of design, works in their Southern California studio, where each light fixture is designed and produced.


Whether it’s a major or minor part of the design, just about every Cerno fixture uses a cut of wood in some way, adding a softer, warmer element.


Since the company was founded in 2009, Cerno has always worked with LEDs and embraced advances in the technology at every step.

Nick Sheridan, Dan Wacholder and Bret Englander, founders of Cerno

Nick Sheridan, Dan Wacholder and Bret Englander, founders of Cerno. The three have been friends for more than 25 years.