Pendant lights, hanging from the ceiling, can literally raise our gaze from the mundane to the magnificent. Whether striking a considered statement in your entrance hall or providing essential task lighting in your kitchen, pendant lamps can have both form and function. Here are five of the best pendant lamps that have caught Carefully Curated’s eye.
Choosing things that will be loved, cherished and enjoyed for many years is a great, and sustainable, rule of thumb. A recent article in the Financial Times Weekend notes that after years of cheap furniture, British consumers are increasingly keen to buy handcrafted products that can become collectables. Quality craftsmanship is at the heart of Tom Raffield’s design practice. Based in Cornwall, Tom Raffield is influenced by the natural beauty that surrounds him. It inspires a sense of adventure. Through experimenting with traditional techniques of steam-bending, Raffield eventually developed a new method that enabled him to create the complex, sensuous 3D forms he desired. Steam-bending is a low energy method of manufacturing, with little wastage and without the use of toxic or harmful chemicals. Unseasoned, green or air dried timber is sourced from sustainably-managed woodlands that are local to the workshop, where possible. Earlier this year, Raffield’s work was part of the Green Room, a space dedicated to eco-sustainable UK design at EDIT by design junction at Salone Internazionale del Mobile to showcase British creativity and design under the slogan, Green is GREAT. The Butterfly Pendant (pictured above) is inspired by the movement of butterflies in full flight. Handmade from sustainably sourced oak and finished with an eco-friendly, non-toxic, water-based varnish, the small pendant is 42cm high with a diameter of 52cm. The light takes a 25 watt energy saving bulb, though the award-winning Plumen low energy light bulb is recommended for a distinctive twist (pictured right). The light is priced £325 (there is currently a summer sale with 20% off). You can see Tom Raffield’s work next month at Decorex International as he has been commissioned to make a special set of furniture pieces for the VIP Lounge.
From future collectables, to current vintage finds. A recent visit to Drew Pritchard’s warehouse in north Wales revealed a treasure trove of lights. There were elegant opaline pendants with pressed brass fittings; a staggering pair of cast bronze and cast iron gate pier lanterns 138cm tall; Art Deco alabaster plaffonier ceiling lights; feminine fluted holophane lights; and utilitarian factory lights. From £99 to £7,500 (for the pair of bronze gate lanterns) there were fittings for nearly all occasions. I was taken with these industrial pendant lights (H: 26 cm W: 21 cm D: 21 cm, priced £195 each) from Poland made of prismatic glass in the 1960s. The polished galleries add a sophisticated finish.
For a contemporary take on the industrial look, Offkut, an independent design company based in London, makes practical, durable, that are, they hope, affordable. As the name would suggest many of their pieces are made from up-cycled industrial wood. The knots, grains and splits in the reclaimed wood means each furniture piece is unique. Their pendant lamps are a series of hanging steel cages. The Corset (priced £235) is like a generous hoop skirt that tapers to a waist as narrow as those sought by nineteenth century belles. The aesthetic is definitely industrial, but softened by the delicate, carbon filament bulbs which are handmade in Switzerland. The larger globe bulbs will burn for around 5000 hours.
The Egg of Columbus lighting collection designed by Valentina Carretta is inspired by the waves and pleats of vintage lamps. Using compressed cardboard from recycled egg cartons, Carretta created three eye-catching designs for pendant lamps. The raw, rough packaging material takes on a clean, yet decorative aesthetic. The pendants are available from the Conran Shop for a very economical £25 each (diameter of piece shown is 22.5cm).
Heath Nash‘s pendant lamps made from recycled plastic have an altogether different look. Nash pioneered the use of plastic post-consumer waste as a raw material in South Africa, working with a small team of craftspeople to create high-end decorative installations and lamps. The first piece of work Nash made from ‘waste’ materials was a leaf ball, colourful flower balls and drum lights followed. The award-winning designer will be exhibiting an installation at Africa Calling, a show case of the best of contemporary African design that launches next month as part of the Africa Utopia festival (12th-14th Sept) at the Southbank Centre, and then to designjunction for London Design Festival (18th-21st Sept). Nash will also be running workshops at Africa Calling, and be a guest panelist in our Africa Calling debate session at Design Junction. I can’t wait to see the work in progress!
Image credits: Africa Calling; Valentina Carretta; OffKut; Plumen; Drew Pritchard; Tom Raffield Design