Decorative lighting is becoming more prominent with mini-chandeliers and pendants now being used to add glamour to even small spaces in the home, reports SANGEETHA SWAROOP
If you thought all that it required to transform the sanctuary of your home was a new coat of colour on the walls, a funky rug or some sculptural objets d’art, think again. To give your home a new vitality and to create both a visual and an emotional ambience, simply change the way a room is lit.
Majestic touch: Handcrafted shades
from JJ Collection
Lighting is key to defining the atmosphere in a home. A soft glow in the bedroom, a bright sparkle in the dining area, or a bright accent at the study desk – you can create what you will at the mere flick of a switch. With its variety of styles, shapes, task lighting or sconces that often add the final, finishing touch to your décor.
“Besides the obvious functional value of both overhead and task lighting in your home, there is no way to overstate the aesthetic value of good lighting when it comes to interior design,” says Tina Thylen, decoration manager at THE One, in Dubai, UAE. “Lighting sets the entire mood of a space, can change the look of a room completely and even make things look more beautiful.”
As with both structural and other interior design elements of the home, lighting is changing to keep pace with how we live and how our homes function and look.
“People want lighting that is beautiful but is going to last. Just as you have investment pieces in your wardrobe, so with your home, people are looking to the longer term, something that will last for more than just a few years, says artist and lighting designer Beau McClellan, whose collections reside at B5 The Art of Living’s showroom in Dubai, UAE.
NOT CONFINED BY TRENDS
With a penchant for building iconic pieces that are not confined by any trends or fads, the designer now offers an entry level option for luxury lighting including table lights, pendants and wall lamps – all stylish pieces that can stand the test of time. “I like to think the Beau McClellan brand transcends contemporary and traditional in terms of style and is suitable for all kinds of interiors,” he says. “The product collection, for instance, has a variety of silhouettes. Fluid, our latest addition, has a teardrop shape. Softer light is emitted at the bottom of the pendant, while its mirror coated finish reflects light around the space. The mirror coating has become my signature style in terms of materials. I prefer the sleek qualities of metals such as aluminium, but I also like the colours available through using polycarbonate.”
Lighting is no longer viewed today as a practical necessity. Decorative lighting is becoming more prominent especially as mini-chandeliers and pendants are used to add glamour to even small spaces in the home. In lighting design, there is a palpable leaning towards bigger, better and brighter technologies, not to mention a shift towards softer and warmer design elements.
Class and style: McClellan’s
Nomad chandelier (above), and
shades from JJ Collection (below)
“As a designer it is absolutely crucial not to focus on trends but to keep your nose in your own track in order to invent and create truly new and interesting designs,” says Danish designer Vibeke Fonnesberg Schmidt, whose Bau pendant light -a vibrant pop-inspired light fixture for Normann Copenhagen – was unveiled at Maison et Objet 2012 in Paris, France. “Yet, we are all influenced by what surrounds us and there seems to be quite a number of wooden lamps around. I think this reflects our need for warm and natural materials and of course, the big trend of mixing and contrasting materials in the interior design just as in the fashion world.”
The Bau pendant light is made up of interlocking geometric circles in primary colours. “To me it is very important that Bau is not only a lamp but also a decorative object with sculptural qualities,” she says.
“Bau is very different seen from the different angles, and for me, the line between functional design and decorative objects is an interesting place to be.”
To update your lighting, sometimes all you need to do is switch to new lamp shades, says Shereen Ajinah, business development director of the UK-based JJ Collection, which specialises in individually handcrafted chandelier shades made with the finest quality fabrics and is available at various stores in the UAE.
“Our shades dress up a chandelier or a table lamp rather than merely covering it,” she says. “By simply changing these clip-on shades on any existing lighting fixtures, you can change the mood of any room to suit any occasion.” Made with the finest quality designer fabrics and decorated with gorgeous trimmings and sparkling crystals, JJ’s Couture range will lend a majestic touch to any living space, she adds, while Cotton Candy, with its vibrant patterns ranging from polka dots to flowing floral designs and embroidered cupcakes, offer a trendy twist to a young girl’s room.
The need to save energy is also driving the trend in lighting with a greater push being given to energy conscious lighting choices. Chandeliers, pendants and table lamps are now equipped to take fluorescent bulbs while it is only a matter of time before energy-saving LEDs (light emitting diodes) become the industry standard.
“Unlike the LEDs of old which often gave a very cold feeling to an interior, the ones you can work with now have the ability to provide a whole range of colours, including much warmer tones,” says McClellan.
However, lighting designers need to approach LED lighting with caution, he warns. “LEDs can create dramatically different effects, but if overdone, the results can look tacky, so it’s definitely worth remembering the adage of less is more here.
The advantage of LEDs over conventional halogen bulbs is that they generate less heat and are more economical in the long run. People want individuality within their interiors and having that flexibility to create everything from a bright, stimulating environment to a moodier atmosphere is key.”
When considering lighting options, bear in mind Thylen’s sound advice: “Remember that dark colours absorb more light. So if your room has dark walls you’ll need more light sources to create your desired effect than in a room with white walls.”