Good lighting is an art as much it is a science, after all it informs functionality just as much as it brings beauty to the space. From bohemian glass and crystal to LED and fibre optics, there is no other field in product design, where artisanal making and the latest technologies so happily co-exist.
What was once utilitarian is now an exercise in high design, with manufacturers upping the ante and collaborating with established and emerging designers to create memorable pieces. Here I pick some of the most exciting designers applying their unique skills to creating exceptional light pieces that do much more than just illuminate.
The Canadian designer is known for his way with stripping away the superfluous and celebrating the honest form. His latest collection, Mila, extols his vision to an art form as it finds perfect equilibrium with materiality. Oblong metal frames delicately cradle hand-blown glass orbs, with all wiring and technology smartly hidden in the frames. Mila offers endless opportunities for customisation: you can change the length of the frames that come in brass, copper and satin black or textured white metal. The collection is bold, delicate, poetic and orderly all at once.
The Czech lighting super brand Preciosa is known for its beautiful works that are often born out of collaborations with architects and designers. One of their latest, the Siren collection, is one such. The Russian designer sought inspiration for the gentle and curvaceous silhouette from the shape of bells. Its humble appearance belies the complexities of the collection: three geometries and transparencies are achieved in hand-blown glass, masterfully paying homage to Preciosa’s heritage and expertise at the art of glassmaking. The almost invisible suspension allows the bell lights that come in different mixes of shades — from dark grey to brighter tones of rose pink — to be the star attraction.
Earlier this year, the London-based brand Se revealed its first collaboration with the Switzerland-based Nigerian American designer. The 22-piece collection that will roll out across a two-year period, features the colourful Morai chandelier. Multiple hand-blows glass spheres can be combined in different ways to create, ‘a constellation of clouds’ according to the designer. The light piece is another chapter in Archibong’s continued fascination with the tension between strength and delicacy.
The Long Island based husband-and-wife duo Lanette and Ryden Rizzo, played with pure geometries — the circle and the triangle — to create a family of four lights. The distinct personalities of bent metal, carved wood and embossed glass beautifully render themselves to the suspended and wall mount lights. The pieces are modern, minimal and yet speak of luxury via their impeccable finish and the couple’s eye for detail. The most majestic of the collection is the ‘Grand Aperture 4’; four glass discs create a large lens-like shape that has a retro vibe, while remaining absolutely modern.
In April, the British designer behind the much loved Plumen 001 light bulb debuted his lighting brand Beem. The brand’s premier collection features two pieces that are born from the designer’s astute knowledge and interest in LED technology advances. Both works take advantage of recent breakthroughs in LED manufacturing that fluid forms, which were previously impossible. With minimal energy consumption, these lights will continue to emit uniform warm light for up to 30 years.