Fine sculptures are typically thought to need professional, well-staged lighting—rarely do we think of them to pull double-duty as both art object and light fixture. But with the prevalence of high-functioning LED lights, the growing trend in home decor is towards crafted, glowing objects that follow form and function. We take stock of the styles in fashion right now and how to achieve an attention-grabbing art piece that will light up any room, figuratively and literally.
Form trumps function in the illuminated sculptures by Niamh Barry, although this piece is also a study in modern techniques of incorporating LEDs successfully. It’s made from polished true bronze and individual opal glass panes that encase the LEDs. When lit, the subdued light elements lend softness to the interlocking rings and cast warmth and brilliance onto reflective metal surfaces.
But the sculpture is just as appealing when turned off as it is when on. “The purpose is an expression of art, or to be decorative,” said Todd Merrill, owner of Todd Merrill Studio in Southampton. “Each sculpture stands on its own whether illuminated or not…they fit with any décor.” It can work as an eye-catching accent or a centerpiece in the dining room. Placed atop a solid, dark wood table the deeper, natural grains play nicely with the light’s copper luster. And though it won’t do the heavy lifting as sole interior lighting or function much even as a reading light, it’s perfectly companionable for romantic ambiance or intimate dining soirées.
Classic designs are hailed for being able to endure fads. A traditional beauty can last beyond cultural and historic eras or design upheavals. For those with a serious aversion to commitment of any kind, consider this lighting pair that retains artistic impressions stretching back to 15th century China. It fits right in among other antiques and heavier traditional settings yet works as a versatile addition in contemporary or modern homes.
“It’s perfect for transitional interiors, complementing modern or vintage,” said Southampton-based designer Todd Hase. “Its classic shape can be easily integrated.” Made from a unique ivory gloss resin, the horse forms are based on Chinese Ming Dynasty aesthetics. The shades, in a more contemporary rectangular shape, are hand-wrapped with clean white linen to complete the modern edge of the piece. This pair of table lights is an eclectic yet understated addition that functionally works as ambient lighting or upscale reading lamps in a leather-clad den or home library.
Gotta Have that Funk
This exuberant light is not bashful about its retro dance club-inspired appeal. Named Discocó, the pendant immediately evokes the shimmer and shadow of chic disco-era dance floors, but refined and packaged for luxury home decor. Like a flower budding, the 35 oval petals open and cascade, providing a nuanced and playful gradation of light and depth, which is further enhanced by the glow emitting from its chromed orb core.
This fully functional room light would be right at home as eye-candy in a sleek, modern kitchen or creative illumination for a casual home workspace. Michael Lichtenstein is a formally trained lighting designer with experience in residential, commercial and theatrical settings. The current owner of Huntington Station-based Lighting Gallery appreciates the Marset-designed “organic simplicity. The clean lines and shapes create a sophisticated, but clean look…it can complement a variety of design styles and keeps getting fresher with the introduction of new colors and sizes.” The uncluttered and upscale appeal of this light sculpture currently comes in six hues and five sizes.