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See the light


Written by Annie Reid. Image above, Christopher Boots’ Nepenthes pendant light.

Today’s designers are busy with tomorrow’s next lighting collections, and there’s plenty on offer for all things bright and sparkly. Annie Reid rounds up lighting’s best and brightest.

One thing’s for sure: glamorous pendants for residential applications are now equally at home within commercial environments, with clients investing in a range of custom statement lighting to make a big impact.

At local lighting design and manufacturing studio Satelight Design, the team specialises in customisation. They work closely with interior designers and architects where they can alter elements of products to suit specific spaces.


Hanging Garden pendant light from Satelight Design.

“Generally, our clients want unique environments and customising lighting adds to the overall effect,” says Satelight’s design director, Duncan Ward.

A highlight is its Hanging Garden pendant light, comprising a wire form and shelf for small objects or plants. Inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, it can be personalised with various light fittings and features either an electroplated brass or textured black powder coat.

“It’s perfect for retail spaces too where products can easily be displayed and highlighted,” he says.


Customisation also plays a part in Tesla Electric Portrait, a collaboration and creative sculptural installation from Ambience Lighting and graphic artist Duro Cubrilo for Ambience’s gallery space in the Melbourne suburb of Fairfield.


Tesla Electric Portrait from Ambience Lighting and graphic artist Duro Cubrilo.

Traditional technology – light globes – was modified to produce the interactive portrait, where 759 LED globes were mounted on a grid and illuminated to create an iconic image of electrical pioneer, Nikola Tesla. David Justice, Ambience’s managing director, says, “Since its completion we’ve been inundated with requests from people from all over the world wanting us to create something similar for high-end residential and commercial spaces.”

Zaffero’s managing director, Jason Kenah says lighting as sculpture is also popular across his collections: “If you look around you can see that trend quite clearly. These are interpreted in authentic materials like copper, brass, hand-blown glass and natural fibres like silk, jute and linen.” Zaffero’s new Riva Brass pendant is a case in point – a handcrafted perforated pendant light with an antique gold appearance, also available in copper and grey zinc.


Zaffero’s Riva Brass pendant lights.

Taking the concept a little further, the Domenica pendant range from Italian designer, Karman, features a delicate white plaster base that seemingly snaps off to reveal a band of gold brown wire netting. It’s newly available from Koda Lighting.

And another striking design is the Talete metal pendant by Lucente, from Radiant Lighting. Ideal over a kitchen or dining table, beside beds or in a cluster to a larger void space, the pendants are available in white, gold, copper and black with a fabric cable.


Koda Lighting’s Domenica Bianco pendant lights designed by Karman.


While decorative trends are set at Euroluce, held in April 2015, the Frankfurt Fair offers a more technical approach to lighting innovation. Studio Italia’s director, Mark Gower, headed there earlier last year.

“LED is increasingly being used in a combination of technical and decorative fittings to produce a practical but interesting outcome,” he says. He points to Nemo’s In the Wind vertical pendant light by Arihiro Miyake, available in Australia from Studio Italia. Long, sleek and contemporary, the pendant features twisting aluminium bars that create a warm and widespread emission of LED light. It’s available in either a floor or pendant setting, with a matte white or black finish.


Nemo’s In the Wind vertical pendant light by Arihiro Miyake from Studio Italia.

Innovation in LED is also driving Dyson’s new CSYS task lights, which were launched in Australia earlier this year. The task lights use heat pipe technology to direct heat away from their LEDS, to sustain brightness and colour, and to avoid damaging the LEDs’ phosphorous coatings.

“Other designers have made attempts to cool LEDs. But it’s not enough. The vast potential of this technology remained unrealised. We knew there had to be a better way,” says designer Jake Dyson.


Dyson’s CSYS task light.

Wood also combines with technology in the 2by4 Timber LED Profile pendant, available from About Space. Locally designed from Tasmanian oak, the 2by4 design offers a rectangular or round profile in lengths up to 2400 millimetres.


Darkon’s Super Mini Grazer.

Dean Phillips from Darkon has created some of the most iconic lights in Australia. His new product, the Super Mini series, is technologically a first. It’s small and functional and can be tailored for aesthetic individuality. Phillips explains, “The original design Super Mini Grazer was born out of adversity. There was a project I delivered that went incredibly wrong. It was all exposed LED and cove lighting applications and then the built environment came along and plaster dust and paint covered the LED. I said I’d never ever supply an exposed light source again and worked to come up with a little package to put [the light] in. The approach was to create a lens that wasn’t a snap fit lens but a tube, the light source slid inside and the end caps were like corks. So it was this little protected tubular envelope. At 15 by 15 millimetres, the size has been designed so that it can be routed and set into an 18 millimetre shelf for joinery and the output is 800 exit lumins for 14 watts.”


Melbourne-based furniture and lighting designer Ross Gardam launched his new lighting collection at Milan’s Furniture Fair in April, featuring the Polar and Ora desk lamps. Both explore the articulation of light. Polar features a circular reference with a magnetically attached arm that rotates to director shade light. The face side of the disc is available in white, midnight and musk pink, plus a gold mirror finish.


Ross Gardam’s Polar desk lamp.

“The gold mirror finish allows Polar to expand its functionality, creating a lit place for reflection,” says Gardam.

Italstyle Lighting Design also offers new designs that herald a circular and oval shape. Designed by Gabriele Florian, the Florian Free and O’Free pendants feature rings of light made by a structure in MDF, matte metal and glass, with specific detail that absorbs and protects the LED light. They are suited to both large and small commercial spaces, with LED energy savings and an assortment of colours and ring measurements.


Designed by Gabriele Florian, Florian Free from Italstyle Lighting Design.


Articolo Architectural Lighting’s founder and designer, Nicci Green says that the current lighting trend is for exotic, playful and dramatic statement pieces – with no neutrals in sight.

“When deep, rich colours – or ‘drunken colours’ as I like to call them – are translated into glass, it provides a new depth and dimension, and evokes a sense of yesteryear glamour,” she says. Articolo’s new Melt wall sconce is available in the old-world Hollywood glamour tones of rich emerald green and peacock blue, with a design featuring mouth-blown glass.


Articolo’s Melt wall sconce.

“I’ve just returned from overseas and, while I haven’t seen the deep, rich colours in lighting designs, I innately feel that this is the direction we will be seeing,” Green says. “And this will naturally flow on.”

Finally, glass also informs Christopher Boots’ sculptural Nepenthes fixture, made from solid brass links and delicate hand-blown glass orbs. Inspired by a genus of carnivorous plants, Nepenthes is commonly specified for hotel lobbies and grand entrances, but is also easily at home as ornamentation for a room.

This article originally appeared in inside 94 – available now on newsstands, or digitally through Zinio.


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