Cre­at­ing a ‘wow fac­tor’

Light fix­tures can pro­vide a fo­cal point in a sparsely dec­o­rated space

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - BY KIM COOK

Cre­ative new shapes and tech­nol­ogy mean that home light­ing fix­tures of­ten do far more than pro­vide il­lu­mi­na­tion. They can be ex­cit­ing and sculp­tural works of art.

“De­signs are now not only a source of light, but a distinc­tive fea­ture of an in­te­rior de­sign,” says New York ar­chi­tect West Chin.

Chin re­cently hung a frothy clus­ter of LED glass bub­bles over a din­ing ta­ble in a min­i­mal­ist apart­ment on Man­hat­tan’s High Line. The fix­ture’s a fo­cal point in an oth­er­wise spar­ely dec­o­rated space. In a Flat­iron du­plex, he placed a trio of mesh orbs over the stair­case; when the lights are on, shad­ows dance the­atri­cally against a pan­eled fea­ture wall. (www.wcar­chi­tect.com )

Chin’s also a fan of Stick­bulb, a light­ing com­po­nent cre­ated by RUX stu­dio in New York City. The “stick” is of­fered in maple, wal­nut, re­claimed heart pine, ebonized oak or red­wood that’s been sal­vaged from one of New York’s old wa­ter tow­ers. Fit­ted with an LED, the sticks at­tach to a cen­tral metal el­e­ment and can be con­fig­ured into var­i­ous shapes, like fire­works or can­tilevered mo­biles. (www.stick­bulb.com )

“I’d guess the de­sign process has been af­fected in the most lib­er­at­ing way with the de­vel­op­ment of the LED bulb,” Chin says.

At Mi­lan’s Salone del Mo­bile this April, the Euroluce light­ing ex­hi­bi­tion halls show­cased LEDs and other tech­nol­ogy in imag­i­na­tive ways. Hun­gar­ian firm Manooi used Swarovski crys­tals to craft sin­u­ous fix­tures evoca­tive of in­fin­ity sym­bols. (www.manooi.com ) Bocci showed fix­tures made by in­ject­ing soda wa­ter into hot glass, then fold­ing and stretch­ing it into pearles­cent pen­dants that looked like gi­ant glow­ing rib­bon candy. (www.bocci.ca )

De­signer Tom Dixon took over Mi­lan’s iconic old the­atre, Cinema Man­zoni, to show his fur­ni­ture and light­ing. One col­lec­tion was called Cut; the faceted clear or smoky fix­tures, with mir­rored fin­ishes and met­al­ized in­te­ri­ors, re­sem­bled enor­mous fu­tur­is­tic crys­tals. (www.tomdixon.net )

“When we’re plan­ning a room that calls for a large piece of state­ment light­ing, we al­ways start with that piece first, build­ing ev­ery­thing else around it,” say Bran­don Qu­at­trone and Mat San­ders of Con­sort De­sign in Los An­ge­les.

“You want it to be the wow fac­tor in a room. If you’re hang­ing a din­ing room chan­de­lier, keep the sur­round­ing walls sim­ple, with a min­i­mal piece of art­work or some sub­tle shelf styling.”

De­signer Ghis­laine Vi­nas did that in a Mon­tauk, New York, beach house project. She hung Al­varo Cata­lan de Ocon’s PET Lamp chan­de­lier in an all­white din­ing space. The brightly hued lights, hang­ing on col­ored cords, bring in an el­e­ment of play­ful­ness. (www.gv­in­te­ri­ors.com )

Other in­trigu­ing fix­tures new to the mar­ket­place em­ploy mod­ern tech­nol­ogy with a nod to clas­sic de­sign. Cor­bett Light­ing’s The­ory ceil­ing fix­ture is an ode to mid­cen­tury Ital­ian de­sign, with hor­i­zon­tal spokes al­ter­nat­ing clear glass and gold-leaf iron rods. Cal­i­brated LEDs grace­fully cast light up and down. Me­trop­o­lis’ in­ter­con­nect­ing, hand-forged iron cubes sur­round an LED light source, and the whole thing is sus­pended on air­craft ca­bles. The piece melds 21st cen­tury and mod­ernist de­sign. (www.cor­bet­t­light­ing.com )

The shape of Hu­man­scale’s Ves­sel quartz crys­tal pendant con­ceals a glare-free LED that makes it seem lit from within. The ef­fect would play well in a hall­way or over a long ta­ble or is­land. (www.hu­man­scale.com )

Restora­tion Hard­ware’s col­lec­tion of forged brass, steel or bronze pen­dants in drum, fun­nel or dome shapes has an in­dus­trial vibe. (www.rh.com )

Jonathan Brown­ing was in­spired by ‘60s French min­i­mal­ist de­sign for his Aquitaine series, which fea­tures slen­der brass, nickel or bronze ta­pers tipped with faceted LEDs, sus­pended on black cord. And a turn-of-the-cen­tury Vene­tian de­sign is up­dated in the soft curves of Icaro, with fiber­glass re­plac­ing For­tuny silk, and gold or sil­ver metal-leaf trim adding ro­man­tic flair. (www.rhmod­ern.com )

At Re­ju­ve­na­tion Light­ing, de­signer Bren­don Far­rell of Port­land, Ore­gon, has a floor lamp with an elon­gated linen drum shade perched on a brass stand; the stand is em­bed­ded in a white or black oak ball base. And art meets engi­neer­ing in Con­trapesso, O & G Stu­dio’s pendant, in which an LED-lit glass ball is coun­ter­bal­anced by a small brass or bronze globe. It’s light­ing made ac­ro­batic. (www.re­ju­ve­na­tion.com )

COR­BETT LIGHT­ING/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

This Me­trop­o­lis LED Light is one of the new light­ing de­signs cur­rently on the mar­ket.

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