What would it take for you to see your home in a new, exquisite light? For some it’s as simple as a fresh colour or cushion. But as we tiptoe towards the darkest day of the year, we’d like to make a case for luminosity. The quality that Thomas Farin described as “the foundational element of design” and one of the easiest ways of bringing a sense of wonder home. It’s in this spirit that we’ve put together a shortlist of truly extraordinary illumination: the ethereal pendants and lamps that promise to work their magic long after the Yuletide festivities are done.
Lasvit (in-store only)
There’s something enchanting about a design that doesn’t give away its secret; that requires a second, curious look. It’s an idea that design studio, Yabu Pushelberg, have explored rather beautifully in their latest project for Lasvit.
“With Cipher, we wanted to celebrate the inherent beauty of cut crystal while looking for ways to create different qualities of light,” explains designer George Yabu.
Starting from the principle that light should dance not dazzle, they set about cutting glass with clean, fluted lines. The kind that directs and shapes light on its way into the world.
“The end result is really flexible,” confirms Glenn Pushelberg. “We’ve found that it’s possible to really customise the pattern and rhythm of light.”
You can also play with the size and scale, too. Available as a pendant, table or floor lamp, Cipher can be as understated or grand as you’d like it — a complete lexis of light for contemporary living spaces.
Flock of Light
Flock of Light is an anthropological number, born from the study of one of the world’s most elusive creatures.
“We took inspiration from the transient moment in which a huddle of fireflies drifts,” explains Castor Bours, one half of Studio Toer.
In doing so, they manage to bring the glory of a summer night, home. The kind that never sets or wanes, but exists forever in a whirlwind of wire, warmth and light.
They’ve also accidentally coined a whole new lighting typology. Not quite a chandelier, nor a pendant — but something in between.
"We took inspiration from the transient moment in which a huddle of fireflies drifts"
For designer Michael Anastassiades, the art of lighting is all about restoring balance and wonder to everyday life.
“Light is very different from other fields, because light lives in two different scenarios: one when it’s on and one when it’s off,” he explains.
“When it’s off is about 80% of its life, but this 20% is when something completely different happens, when you turn the light on, the space that the light occupies suddenly becomes very different.”
The collections he’s authored for Flos are suitably impactful. Glowing constellations that can be used to embellish open space — even when they’re switched off.
It’s a philosophy that’s most obvious in the Arrangements collection.
‘I have always been fascinated with the parallel that exists between lighting and jewellery,” he continues. “It starts with the simple fact that each piece relates to the human scale: one is designed to be worn on the body, while the other is made to decorate the space someone occupies.”
Giving shape to what does not yet exist was also on the mind of Fredericia Biasi when she set to work on Jolie, a luminous new concept for Gallotti & Radice.
“With Jolie, I was curious to test the limits of traditional glass craftsmanship” says Biasi.
We learn later that she also wanted to challenge the paradigm that designing and making are distinct acts; something which saw her spend many a summer in the blistering furnaces of Murano.
"With Jolie, I Was curious to test the limits of traditional glass craftsmanship."
“We began to pursue the idea that we could expand the size [of a traditional lamp] and create an object with a more dramatic diameter,” she continues.
After many a prototype, they arrived at the sinuous folds of Jolie. A curvaceous hemisphere whose ripples resemble blossoming petals or an overlapping vortex — depending on the perspective.
Critics have described it as the closest we’ll ever get to a fragment of the Milky Way. And yet, we’re wary of attaching any significance at all to this amorphous little light. We figure that Melt is better off in the borderlands, free to become the precious, idiosyncratic style design studio, Front, intended it to be.
“Our aim is to consistently add something special to a project. Or something that you wouldn’t expect,” confirms Anna Lindgren, one half of Swedish design studio, Front.
As missions go, it feels like a fait accomplis. Whether it’s for Tom Dixon or Moooi, Front have a talent for surprise, serving up styles that are open to a multitude of interpretations.
“Most of our design projects are technology and material-driven,” chimes Sofia, partner and designer at FRONT. “And as Anna says, we try to come up with surprising, unexpected solutions. It does not necessarily have to be a new technology, but it could also be new characteristics within the material that we already know.”
It’s why depending on when and where you come across Melt, it can resemble everything from molten lava through to falling stars, amorphous little solar systems that keep moving, shifting, turning.
This season, we’re delighted to welcome a new masterpiece into the fold. The mesmerising Melt Stand — a mini chandelier-cum-floor lamp that promises to add cosmic drama to any living room in search of light.
The Jack O’Lantern collection began as all good design investigations do: with a consideration of how we can make our waking moments more wonderful.
“I see Jack as a sentinel of the evening,” says designer Lucie Koldova. “At once a guardian of sleep and functional object.”
Hidden inside its geometric contours is a glowing glass pearl, one that can be made moody or playful depending on the finish.
With its beautiful, biophilic design, it reminds us of an important truth: light seems to shape us as much as we shape it. And if we want to respect the rhythm of night and day, we must look for styles that do the same.
Nothing is as timeless as silver and gold, but if you needed a reminder, the endless allure of Contardi’s Mikado series will do. Hewn from only the most precious materials, each of the brass bars gives way to a prismatic crystal bulb which promises to send light prancing through open space.
Ideal for homes in search of glamour, Mikado heralds the dawn of a new Bronze Age. A time in which we rediscover our love of precious metals, and all the ways they can enrich the tactile palette of home.