«The greatest show on earth, in my eyes, is the Milan Furniture Fair, otherwise known as Salone.»
It’s vast, really vast, spreading over the entire city which has to accommodate 300 000 people who come to see it. The best of the best of the latest in the furnishing world is on display, usually for the first time. Studio Hopwood like all professional interior designers, have to be there.
The lighting exhibition at the fair called Euroluce is a priority, especially as it appears only every two years. Recently modern manufacturing techniques and the launch of LED bulbs has enabled lighting designers create some of the most forward thinking products ever seen.
Here are some of our favourites.
It’s a while back since Tom introduced the classic Mirror Ball light. As it is produced in polycarbonate rather than glass, such a daring design was accessible to more of us and consequently become a classic and is seen everywhere. Following the Mirror Ball’s success, Tom has introduced a number of variations. He has developed some new shapes and grouped them together to create an interesting variation of the chandelier.
He has also created new shapes in the material including the warm glow of Melt in gold or the angular Cut which sparkles in silver.
I am looking forward to using the waterproof range especially as they will add more individualism to bathrooms which often look a little generic and soulless. I particularly like Spot as it nonchalantly drops from the ceiling at an angle pouring light through its thick glass lens.
The clever people at Foscarini commission some of the world’s best designers to create their range, this year commissioning Sebastian Herkner. He has used fluted sandblasted glass to created a grouping of drums which takes the concept of a chandelier into another realm. I have no doubt many other manufactures will follow their lead.
They have also worked with David Pompa to create Minimal which is a softer, organically shaped version of the pencil light which looks effective hovering over a dining table.
Foscarini - Diesel
Diesel rocks, they are the urban bad boys of design. Working with Foscarini they have created a range called Glass Drop which look like molten glass dripping from the ceiling, in soft amber it oozes 70’s glamour.
Fontana Arte Inspiration from far East
Denis Guidone here has taken the classic Ming porcelain shape and turned it into sandblasted glass, the source of the soft glow is undetectable as it’s from a concealed ring of LED. The result is magical.
If ever in doubt of the type of lighting to choose, go for LP and you’ll never go wrong . They are timeless modern classics, the Artichoke light has become an icon and for good reason. This year they have introduced new colours for the PH50 light by Poul Henningson in soft clover and sage green and in doing so have kept this classic up to date.
Santa Cole is based in Barcelona.
Their Cestita light has been around since 1962 and has that far Eastern look which has featured a lot in this year’s fair. It’s charm lies in its artisan look to it and is now launched in a useful battery version.
What raised my eyebrow though was the Tekio lamp. Again inspired by the East. It is a series of paper modules that click together with magnetics to a host of different shapes for wall lights and pendants. They are created using traditional paper making methods by artisans in Japan.
Kalmar from Austria make a dinky little table lights which is simple and reflects the elegant lines of the Viennese Succession. For this year Ilse Crawford has made a special edition in rosewood and satin brass with a matt black shade making it suitable for even the classiest interior.
I am a fan of Laura Meroni ‘s lighting and have placed it in my projects. She pushes the parameters. She is good at pushing the parameters. I especially like her Tubo Sospensione which is best described as a brass tube with hinged disc within each so that the light levels can be adjusted. Gathered into a group they make a great modern chandelier and look great over a dining table.
«Also launched this year is their homage to Cubism a large table lamp called Novecentotrenta in parchment. It’s a beauty.»
Very high end. They are experimenting with polished brass and glass tubes which looks like a refined reeded glass.
DCWE - In the Tube
DCWE are a cool French company that make affordable industrial style lighting. This year they have launched their “In the Tube” range. There there is a trend for this style of reeded glass tube lights at the show this year and this sample is both classy and industrial and is probably the most affordable and adaptable. They can be hung over dining tables or kitchen islands dimmed down to create a warm glow or even used as wall lamps or just sat on a sideboard. There is also an exterior version.
Pounding through the aisles of the show I stopped in my track to admire the splended new light from the Czech company, Brokis. Called the Knot, it certainly ticks my boxes as it the blends both the raw and the polished with elegant blown glass in seductive shapes hung from robust cord which appear to be pulling the glass inwards. I intend to use a pair hanging from the ceiling either side of a bed, deliberately over scaled. I mentioned this new discovery to a friend who is a leading hotel designer, she looked rather disdainfully at me and said that she has been using Brokis for years. Turns out that they are the top of the tree when it comes to glass lighting.
Flos by Sarfatti
Flos has launched an elegant little table light designed in the fifties by the equally elegant Gino Sarfatti. The bulb up lights onto a metal dome reflecting a soft light on to a surface, it is ideal as a desk light for late night working. I want one.
Ingo Maurer – Yoruba Rose
Ingo Maurer have always been a bit radical and it has paid off as in their collection are many classics that you probably recognise. This time they have added the Yoruba Rose which is movingly graceful. I do believe that lighting can be sculptural as well as functional and this light reflects my belief. Japanese paper has been stretched over wires concealing an led module that cast a warm glow through the paper.
Do you have 20ft ceilings and a large bank account? If so look no further that Preciosa for that perfect chandelier. They are the masters of Bohemian glass. Their chandeliers this year are inspired by crowns from different ages. They even experimented with matt crystal, which oddly worked but my favourite was made of bronze glass spheres that had quite a modern edge to it.