Designers become creative, smart and comfortable with lighting trends

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Designers and lighting companies have been busy finding new ways to hold a bulb and cast light, and winter is the perfect time to explore their latest solutions.

Some are inspired by the sky above our heads. Others by period of style, from decoration to disco. Still others work with interesting materials around which to build a lamp.

“There’s a growing world of lighting that’s so much more than a glass globe on a stem,” says designer Ted Bradley. He cites cool, sculptural forms: “When done well, they capture our attention as free-standing sculptures and fill the space around them with beautiful, high-quality light.


An overview of what’s new:

Bradley sees a trend towards objects and spaces inspired by nature. “It’s something deeply rooted in all of us,” he says.

Two that have recently attracted him: Tidal Chandelier by John Pomp and Moonlight Murmuration by Ocher. “They are fascinating, both in their form and in the techniques required to make them.”

Pomp is a furniture and lighting designer who is also a glassblower and a surfer. His collections of suspensions, chandeliers, sconces and glass lamps look like blown bubbles, pieces of ice, swollen waves. The Tidal fixture is perched on amoeba-like sculpted glass pieces on hand-forged brass rods to create an organic canopy.

In Murmuration, British design firm Ocher conceptualizes the phenomenon of birds swooping through the sky in mesmerizing cloud-like formations. Dozens of LED-lit solid glass drops hang from a white canopy to look like they were caught mid-flight at night.

Bradley’s Samsara light fixture suspends white porcelain rings from a brass spine, evoking the ribcage of a sun-bleached whale skeleton. Other configurations he imagined evoke the curved branches of a snow-covered trembling aspen, a raptor’s nest, a constellation.

“My goal is 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 surge in interest in “statement lighting” – sculptural pendants, standout sconces, snazzy shades with plenty of wow factor. She cites more research on 70s lamps, decorative lighting, vintage fixtures and colorful pieces.

Statement lighting, she says, “allows people to highlight their homes, while also serving as eye-catching works of art.”

Lighting designers get creative with materials including fiber, porcelain, glass, fabric, paper, and metal.

Some statement lights have a cosmic vibe. The constellation style comes in large and small configurations, with LED sticks arranged to suggest a starry sky.

CB2’s Savina Pendant is an alabaster orb with swirls that resembles a planetary gas giant.

And British designer Lee Broom’s Crescent collection features pendant lighting with illuminated acrylic spheres cut in half to reveal a brass interior, as if a futuristic space station is opening its door. Broom’s Eclipse luminaire merges an acrylic circle with a mirrored circle, like two moons meeting.

Peter Bowles, who together with his son Charlie runs Original BTC, was one of the first to use bone china in lampshade design over 30 years ago in Oxfordshire, England.

“The potter he approached initially thought he was crazy, as they had only ever made crockery and similar products – never lighting,” says Charlie Bowles.

But he says something special happens when material meets light.

“Bone china appears pure white when fired, but then gives off a lovely soft warm glow when lit,” he says. “Despite its challenges and reputation for being a difficult ceramic to work with, the end result speaks for itself – it’s versatile, fun to design, and the light you get is calming and can positively affect your mood.

This year, the studio presented Shard, a circular chandelier made of handmade tiles, and Pebble, an elegant ceiling lamp formed from dozens of pieces of soft porcelain, polished like river rocks and fixed to form a kind of mineral cocoon.

Arteriors offers a collection of pendants made from materials such as wooden beads, raffia and plant fibres. A pendant called Jana, for example, is inspired by traditional thatched roofs; brown wicker fringe creates a playful, textured fixture, suspended from an antique brass chain. The Jemai table lamp has an anthracite colored base formed from ricestone, a fine gravel. Stacked asymmetrical shapes create a groovy 70s vibe.

Barcelona-based Spanish designer Maria Fiter uses pulp newsprint, water-based glue and natural earth pigments to create lightweight and imaginative pendants inspired by the solar system, animal shapes and cartoon characters animated.

Designer Pascale Girardin in Quebec, Canada, was inspired by childhood memories of picking flower petals to create her Love Me Not pendant, for Juniper. The dramatic scale fixture, made of hand-formed acrylic petals suspended by cables from a matte white canopy, has a romantic and ethereal vibe.

Lamp shades are a great way to introduce an artistic element – and you can usually place one over a base you already have.

Bespoke Binny, the London studio of designer Natalie Namina, offers a collection of African wax print drum shades in bold patterns and colours.

Carla Regina and James Andrew, who run Regina Andrew Detroit in Michigan, say sconces are on the rise with their clientele.

In addition to providing light, sconces are wall art and “can quickly transform and update a room,” says Regina.

Their Happy sconce has two white ball lights perched on a smile-shaped tubular base in nickel, rubbed bronze or brass. Their Gotham sconce combines an alabaster sleeve with an Art Deco brass trim – it evokes that era, but is classically modern.

The matt black Serge wall light from France & Son is a reproduction of the classic vintage mold-shaped Serge Mouille light fixture.

Inspired by the antlers she saw while visiting Jackson Hole, Wyoming, designer Beth Webb cast an antler in resin and turned it into a Jackson sconce, complete with linen shade white and a nickel back plate.

Apartment dwellers take heart; there are many plug-in or battery-powered wall lights that do not need to be wired; just mount them on the wall and use a remote control. Schoolhouse, AllModern, Rejuvenation and Lamps Plus all have a wide range of plug-in styles, and battery-powered ones can be found on Wayfair and Amazon.

The Scandinavian trick of using low, indirect lighting indoors at this time of year works well because it keeps us in tune with the outdoors.

“It’s more about embracing natural winter light and working to amplify it on the darkest days,” says London interior designer Clare Gaskin.

She suggests wall and pendant fixtures with reflective interiors to set the mood. Brass or copper gives a lamp bulb a warm glow.

Create islands of light in a space to work, relax or do both at different times of the day.

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