A bold trend has come to light: More designers are using bigger and bolder lights in interior spaces.
These light fixtures, once used to accentuate, now punctuate. Technically called accent lights, used to shed light on rooms, these fixtures are now show stoppers, garnering more attention than rugs, tables and chairs.
Walk into showrooms or design houses and you will see lighting that wows. Like works of art, these light pieces evoke emotion as well as please the eye.
I started noticing this trend late last year, especially in kitchens where previously designers implemented what I called the “Starbucks look.” The Starbucks look featured a trio of artsy pendant lights, usually hanging over a kitchen island or countertop.
Peruse any kitchen design book published in the 1990s and almost every kitchen has mini pendants, usually hung in threes, which coordinates with the kitchen hardware.
The new trend features one ornate, oversized fixture, hanging from the center of a room. Eyes gravitate to these lights because they command attention. Wall sconces are sometimes used to reinforce the look, but these lights are weighty enough to carry a room on their own.
The industrial-style light featured in a room designed by Daniel Proctor of Kirk Designs is a good example. The centerpiece of the room is the Lighthouse Lantern, designed by McLain Wiesand, a Baltimore-based artist who produces custom furniture. With its French rubbed steel frame and hand antiqued convex mirror, the lantern looks like a relic from the Industrial Revolution.
Wiesand combined the look of giant lenses with mechanical parts associated with old light houses as inspiration. Although this room also has a stunning, rarely seen photo of Marilyn Monroe and beautifully appointed furniture throughout, the most prominent piece is the light.
Similarly, designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey, of SCW Designs, created a cupcake-inspired dining room for the 2012 DC Design House. Sweet and dainty, this dining room’s girlie girl palette is anchored by an antiqued mirror Monaco Chandelier from Nieman Weeks.
Artist Tracy Glover, known for her hand-blown glass creations, recently introduced the Silver Lining chandelier, a dazzling display where art meets function. Glass orbs are suspended on nine individual stainless steel cable strands. The pieces can be customized by size, shape, pattern and color and the metal canopy comes as a square, rectangle or circle.
Currey and Co. specializes in luxury accessories and light fixtures. They carry several large industrial-style oval fixtures, like the Sahara Pendant with hand-pierced metal framing.
Of course, these pieces cost more than the average light. But if approached like fine art, you can consider them investments with many happy returns.