modern living + innovative design + inspiring ideas
LBL Batons Satin Nickel Suspension Pendant Light
“When lighting looks like art, you know you have a winner!”
- D. Shultz, Interior Designer
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The Art Story
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Walk into any major contemporary art museum and you'll find that cross-pollination has long existed between art and furniture design, but the question arises: has contemporary lighting design seen that same infusion of creative energy? Creatives like Isamu Noguchi or Frank Gehry are recognizable international brands, artists who have branched into creating product designs for mass (albeit high end) consumption. But contemporary artists working specifically with light have not had such crossover luck.
Nonetheless, the inspiration these artists have had on modern lighting design can't be underestimated.
Light and Space artists such as James Wheeler (pictured above), Eric Orr and James Turrell have been exploring the effects of light, space and perception since the 1960s. These artists have been groundbreaking in their use of media and their reductive end results have found footing in contemporary design practice.
Turrell's Meeting installation (above) has been on view at MOMA's PS1 gallery in New York since 1986. Turrell's technique is rather simple despite the dramatic effect it produces.
By simply installing under cabinet lighting strategically, anyone can give their walls the "floating" appearance of Turrell's artwork. This floating look has become a predominant idiom in contemporary hospitality lighting design, as seen in this check-in desk at Hong Kong's Luxury East Hotel, designed by CL3 Architects.
Artist Dan Flavin is among some of the most influential artists of the last three decades. His use of raw fluorescent tubes and his emphasis on stark geometries has made it's impact on public spaces as well. Note the motor court entry at the bottom left of the Hotel Wilshire image below.
Recent works of art have a smaller scale, sculptural quality to them. Los Angeles artist David B. Jang created Correlation Cycles in 2010 as a sprawling fixture of circular fluorescent tubes.
A similar circular sculptural effect can be seen in this modern chandelier below by Possini Euro Design.
Possini White Cloud 15" Wide Pendant Chandelier
Artist Lita Albuquerque's works not with light but rather its absence. Her Stellar Axis project, was a 2006 site-specific piece that traced the stars of the nighttime sky onto the ground at the south pole. This was during the evening-less summer months when the midnight sun prevents any starlight from being seen.
Albuquerque's piece included 99 blue orbs that appeared as the negative image of stars on a white snow background. To apply this look to your home, the hand-crafted sphere-style fixture (below, right) light would do the trick.
Pictured on right: Besa Sphere Series 13 1/4" High Opal Matte Glass Accent Lamp
As technologies evolve, artists will inevitably source these changing technologies as media, just as designers will inevitably continue looking to these artists for inspiration. Most of us may never transform an entire room completely into an art installation, but luckily there are plenty of sculptural contemporary chandeliers available to give the home an artistic look.
Images: MCASD, MOMA PS1, Luxe DB, Artcat, Vibrant Travel Solutions, Art-merge, Stellar Axis
Designer Ed Chew managed to create a modern pendant light out of drink cartons that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. We found this fun DIY project on Yanko Design, where Chew documents the different stages of how he took it from discarded drink packet to modern light fixture.
Since modern pendant lights are one of my favorite accessories, I just had to share this awesome idea. Chew achieved this Epcot-like ball by unfolding the packets and then refolding them into hexagonal and pentagonal sections that are then pieced together to form a geodesic sphere.
This makes you wonder what other modern home decor accessories or light fixtures can we make out of something that we might otherwise just throw away....
Since we love everything related to modern design, it's no doubt this Eco-friendly DIY pendant made us take a double look! MC49VRXP6HEC
Images: Yanko Design
I was blown away by Alta Marea's modern bathroom luxury pieces with the introduction of the Must and Volo Green collections in Milan this year. I have been working with Alta Marea for many years and this not only far surpassed anything they had done in the past, but far surpassed anything I saw at the show this year! The materials, the details, the forms, the quality... it was all perfect in my eyes. The designers Perissinotto, Zanetti, and Dalto have definitely succeeded in creating "an emotion that has been transformed into lines and material."
The most stunning materials in the Must Collection were the oxidized metal mixed with the gorgeous gray hue and warm copper veining of the Boschetto marble.
The countertop sits just beneath the doors to create a sunken effect. The 45 degree angle on the door is a beautiful detail that creates perfectly matched corners.
Is this a piece of furniture or a vanity? Where is the sink in this composition?
Yet another stunning countertop detail! The rim of the sink sits flush with the door as the countertop rests just below. The use of vanity mirrors with integrated lighting create a beautiful even glow on the entire composition. Our Destiny Square Vanity Mirror is a great alternative to the one above.
And the details don't stop there! The interior, a beautiful orange, complements the marble and the matte lacquer with such bold confidence.
The Volo Green line is founded on the strong desire of helping the environment. The cabinetry and countertop is made of Paperstone, an innovative material made from 100% recycled paper. It's truly genius! The simple mirrors paired with up and down wall sconces, similar to our Holtkoetter Sconce, are the perfect complement to this minimal composition.
A solid material, soft to the touch, that is fabricated like stone! As designer Paolo Zanetti says: “I have finally been able to do a radical, extreme project that makes no compromises, where modernity is at the service of nature. Nature doesn’t say thanks: it rejoices.”
Images: Alta Marea, Annie May Design
Sure, selecting the right building materials is key when creating the look and feel that you want for your bath, or rather your personal oasis. Natural materials, such as wood and stone will give you the feeling of being at a spa or retreat. But, why not take it one step further and take your tub and shower outdoors?!
There's many ways to situate your bathtub or shower outside while still keeping it private. The stone wall (above) and wood planks enclose this bath, keeping tub time personal. Or, you could design it to be half indoors and half outdoors to give yourself a little more privacy while still soaking in the fresh air and sunlight. The exterior fence (below) keeps the space private while the wood plank flooring unites the two areas.
Some of these designs require a lot of architectural planning, but if you just want to add a natural, outdoor feel to your bath without any major construction, then simply bring the outdoors in! Adding some simple greenery indoors is an easy way to lighten up your space and feel one with nature. The succulent wall art (below) is a great way to use wall space and a super trendy way to incorporate plants in your home.
Effective home decor accessories for adding a little bit of nature can range from plants to artwork, but also the right lighting. Selecting modern lighting fixtures made of natural materials, such as our Cassandra Ceiling Light which features a natural grass cloth shade will give the feeling of nature without having to be outside.
Whether you go big or small, adding a bit of nature to your bath or shower can give you the personal oasis you've always wanted.
Images: Home the Lovely, Feau, Arch Daily, Flora Grubb
After Milan I took a little trip over to Barcelona and although I only had a few days to wander through these amazing streets, my experience was incredible. The food was great, the people were so nice, the architecture was stunning, and the level of design was far above par. As I was wandering home on my last day there after visits to many gorgeous museums, the boqueria, and my favorite the Gothic Quarter, I stumbled upon this little gem of a restaurant. It was the bold red graphics and the turquoise window frame that made me peek in. FASTViNIC is a food haven in Barcelona with an interior as mouth-watering as the food!
The restaurant is 100% organic in style and selection of materials, down to the organic utensils. Alfons Tost took this idea of creating an extremely functional design that is comfortable and organic and is sure to make everyone feel welcome and implemented it to the max. Fastvínic uses the finest local produce and wines and this is evidence to their strong commitment to sustainable development. Environmental sustainability is fundamental to Fastvínic.This unshakable principle is based on three pillars: the choice of food, the selection of wines, and the design and functioning of the premises.
The french linen pillows so cleverly suspended from the natural wood shelving above was one of the first things to catch my attention as I looked inside. However, the focal point of this design is the "perimetrical dexion racking," which as shown in this design is very flexibile in its usage. It works perfect for the seating, shelving, and as racks for the plants and pots, shelves and wine rack. The simple curves on the modern white dining charis are a very nice contrast to solid linear forms.
The simple white metal pendant lighting is a perfect contrast to the wood cladding and turquoise walls. The repetition of the white pendant lighting balances and softens the white frames throughout the restaurant. It's a perfect combination!
Go in, get cozy, and experience some fine dining while enjoying the beautiful surroundings! Good design has a huge impact!
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