How low can you go?

Pen­dant lights are plumb­ing new depths

Country Life Every Week - - Interior Design The Inside Track -

IN 1926, the Amer­i­can economist Ge­orge Taylor claimed that hem­line lengths di­rectly cor­re­late to the health of an econ­omy; low in bad times (the 1930s) and high in good times (the 1960s). I hope that the same isn’t true of pen­dant lights be­cause they’re de­scend­ing rapidly.

There are all sorts of rea­sons for this, none of which have any­thing to do with eco­nomic sen­ti­ment. The first is that, al­most 140 years af­ter Thomas Edi­son ap­plied for a patent on his elec­tric bulb, we have even­tu­ally re­alised that, in most cir­cum­stances, lamps are bet­ter at eye level or be­low.

It’s a les­son we’ve learnt from all sorts of good ex­am­ples: the gi­ant shades that are now al­most oblig­a­tory over kitchen is­lands, the flat­ter­ing glow of wall lights on ei­ther side of bath­room mir­rors (rather than above), the re­laxed feel of restau­rants and ho­tels that are lit ex­clu­sively by ta­ble lamps rather than by daz­zling chan­de­liers over­head. The re­sult is that pen­dant lights are be­gin­ning to turn up in all sorts of un­ex­pected places pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by ta­ble lamps: by bed­sides, on con­soles and over kitchen work­tops.

The other rea­son is that the choice of pen­dant lights is be­com­ing more ex­ten­sive. They have a dis­creet feel more in keep­ing with the cur­rent mood than a chandelier and they won’t star­tle you when in close prox­im­ity. Pen­dant lights have prac­ti­cal ad­van­tages, too. Like any­thing hung from the ceil­ing (kitchen pans, Ser­rano hams, bi­cy­cles), they free up valu­able space on floors, work­tops and bed­side ta­bles. And, com­pared to wall-mounted lights, they are eas­ier to fit ret­ro­spec­tively. Late adopters might take a while to ac­cli­ma­tise, but, like black walls, painted floors and goatskins, that’s only a mat­ter of time.

Left: The surya pen­dant by Ochre. Top: Chich­ester by Nep­tune. Above: Tassled pen­dants by Roth­schild & Bick­ers

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