The latest trends in home lighting design
Designers and lighting companies have been busy coming up with new ways to hold a lightbulb and project light, and winter is a great time to explore their latest solutions. Some are inspired by the skies overhead. Others by style eras, from Deco to disco. Still others are working with interesting materials around which to build a lamp.
"There's a growing world of lighting that's so much more than the glass globe on a stem," says designer Ted Bradley of Boulder, Colorado. He cites fresh, sculptural forms: "When done right, they both capture our attention as standalone sculptures and fill the space around them with beautiful, high-quality light."
Pomp is a Philadelphia furniture and lighting designer who's also a glassblower and surfer. His collections of glass pendants, chandeliers, sconces and lamps look like blown bubbles, chunks of ice, swelling waves. The Tidal fixture perches sculpted amoeba-like glass pieces on hand-forged brass stems to create an organic canopy.
In Murmuration, the British design firm Ochre conceptualizes the phenomenon of birds swooping through the sky in mesmerizing, cloud-like formations. Dozens of LED-lit solid glass drops are suspended from a white canopy to look as though they had been caught in mid-flight at night.
Bradley's own Samsara fixture suspends white porcelain rings from a brass spine, evoking the rib cage of a sun-bleached whale skeleton. Other configurations he's devised suggest the bowing branches of a snow-covered aspen tree, a raptor's nest, a constellation. "I aim to capture a moment of beauty in the natural world, and bring it to life," he says.
Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson sees a rise in interest in "statement lighting" — sculptural pendants, standout sconces, snazzy shades with lots of wow factor. She cites more searches for '70s-era lamps, decorative lighting, vintage fixtures and colorful pieces. Statement lighting, she says, "allows folks to spotlight their homes, while doubling as eye-catching artwork."
Designers of lighting fixtures are getting creative with materials, including fiber, porcelain, glass, fabric, paper and metal. Some statement lighting has a cosmic vibe. The constellation style comes in configurations big and small, with sticks of LEDs arranged to suggest starry skies.
CB2's Savina pendant is an alabaster orb with swirls that resembles a planetary gas giant. And British designer Lee Broom's Crescent collection includes suspended lighting with illuminated acrylic spheres bisected to reveal a brass interior, as though a futuristic space station were opening its door. Broom's Eclipse fixture melds an acrylic circle with a mirrored one, like two moons meeting.
Peter Bowles, who with son Charlie runs Original BTC, was one of the first to use bone china in lamp-shade design, over 30 years ago in Oxfordshire, England. "The potter he approached initially thought he was crazy, as they'd only ever made tableware and similar products — never lighting," says Charlie Bowles.
But he says something special happens when the material meets light. "Bone china appears pure white once it's fired, but then gives a lovely warm soft glow when lit," he says. "Despite its challenges and reputation for being a tricky ceramic to work with, the end result speaks for itself – it's versatile, fun to design with, and the light you get is soothing and can positively affect your mood."
This year, the studio introduced Shard, a circular chandelier of handmade tiles, and Pebble, an elegant ceiling fixture formed of dozens of pieces of bone china, polished like river rocks and fastened to form a kind of mineral cocoon. Arteriors has a collection of pendants crafted from materials like wooden beads, raffia and plant fibers. A pendant called Jana, for example, was inspired by traditional thatched roofs; brown wicker fringe creates a playful, textured fixture, suspended on an antique brass chain. The Jemai table lamp has a charcoal-hued base formed from ricestone, a fine gravel. The stacked asymmetrical forms create a groovy '70s vibe.