Our Top Five Favorite Lighting Trends from 2014
Lighting has always been about contrast, but right now this is truer than ever. Rustic but urban, contemporary but retro, and warm but sleek are among some of what we’re seeing from lighting manufacturers as they get ready to start shipping their new releases. This past January at the Dallas International Lighting Market, we got a sneak peak of some of the latest designs, which combine modernism, and in some cases, futurism, with a retro feel. Over-scale chandeliers, bold designs in wood and copper, crystal paired with bronze, organic hammered metal, drum shades, spherical forms and even sputnik-shaped fixtures are among our favorite trends right now, as is a wholehearted embracing of vintage aesthetics that sometimes winks, sometimes nudges, and always nods to the past. “One standout piece that combines several of these elements is the new extra-large Moravian Star by Visual Comfort in burnished silver, with an antique mirror,” says Giorgina Schnurr, senior lighting designer at our showroom in Arlington, Virginia. “We’re excited about having these products in our showrooms, and even more excited about helping our customers light their homes.”
As our feet could attest, the Dallas Market is a gigantic showcase, featuring hundreds of different designs and lighting options. There really is something for everyone — even the pickiest and most discerning among us. (We should know; we’re pretty picky ourselves.) Here are the top five favorite trends that we’re most excited about:
1. Just Plain Classy
With more than 50 new collections, Hudson Valley Lighting presents an impressive line-up of clean, classic, elegant offerings, from chandeliers and pendants to sconces and flush-mount fixtures. The Hollywood Regency-inspired Travis salutes the golden age of the silver screen, encasing an elegantly proportioned chandelier in a cut and polished cube of modern acrylic glass, with the pendant available in aged brass and polished nickel finishes. “Hudson Valley had a beautiful release overall, but I really liked this pristine, optic acrylic chandelier,” Schnurr says. The Belmont, a pendant designed for kitchen lighting, nods to the 20th Century when the City of Lille in Northern France was among the first to light its streets with what were at the time newly engineered convex lenses. Polished, prismatic glass is joined to the sturdy metal body with custom knobbed fasteners, resulting in the pendant’s signature “gourd” figure. Albion, Westville, and Hebron are a shimmering array of glass sconces that once again draw inspiration from 20th Century — and all that glamour.
2. LED Everything
We loved, loved, LOVED what we saw in LED — and we saw a lot. “Almost every showroom had new decorative LED introductions with improved CRI and lumen outputs,” notes Valerie Ramos, lighting consultant in our Arlington location. From LED chandeliers, pendants, fans with LED light kits, decorative bath lights and sconces to decorative exterior lighting, it’s definitely all about LED these days. Of special note: WAC Lighting’s Plymouth LED Pendant marries authentic vintage design with energy efficiency in a piece that is handcrafted of mouth-blown milk-white opal glass featuring hand-painted silver banding — perfect for your kitchen or dining area, or even your classic bar — which you want to look retro while embracing today’s energy-saving technologies. The Freeport LED Pendant — originally designed as a functional luminaire for stairwells, sheds, and machine shops — also tributes the past with its vintage industrial aesthetic, and like the Plymouth, only uses five watts of electricity. We also took note of WAC Lighting’s Modern Forms line-up of sleek bathroom fixtures.
The beauty of LED is that it allows designers to play with lines, as demonstrated by Tech Lighting. The Surge linear suspension fixture features undulating upward and downward-firing LED strips that mimic the gentle rolling of ocean waves, creating layers of illumination. The manufacturer’s Akimbo — also a linear suspension unit — has a jagged edge, with its exposed Edison-style lamps and asymmetrical lines. The minimalist Parallax linear suspension fixture, inspired by the look and feel of a circuit board, addresses those with a taste for the futuristic. Tech Lighting also boasts a considerable array of LED pendants and flush-mount units ranging from industrial and modern to classic and sophisticated.
But wait — there’s more! As an alternative to incandescent light bulbs Philips has introduced its SlimStyle A19 line of LED bulbs, which, at 10.5 watts, can replace conventional 60-watt bulbs. As their name suggests, these bulbs feature a slim (or flat) design ideal for pendants, table fixtures and sconces. “LED in general is getting much thinner than they were in the past,” says Erin Schwartz, buyer in our Chantilly showroom. These bulbs are instant-on (no waiting for the lights to come up after you flip the switch), and produce a soft, white, all-around light. Their average life is almost 23 years. (That figure is based on just under two hours of usage a day, but even if you forget to turn the light off, it’ll be a while before you’ll need a replacement!)
3. Edison Everywhere
And who’s done with Edison? Nobody! History is also influencing modern times with the vast number of Edison-esque fixtures, which combine metals, glass and, in some cases, wood. “Like LED, almost everyone has something inspired by the early Edison lamp,” Ramos says. Among our favorites were Hinkley’s oil-rubbed bronze Congress, a retro-style chandelier encasing four bulbs in four separate glass spheres; and Middlefield, an iron rust and wood-structured chandelier housing nine candelabra. And Kichler’s Brinley collection brings old-fashioned, down-home comfort to the Edison concept with a six-light pendant fashioned out of canning jars.
4. Heavy Metal . . .
Brass, copper, bronze, nickel — who said heavy metal was reserved just for muscle cars? This year Savoy House presents a number of designs featuring metallic finishes, including Devon, a two-light sconce with a warm, rich brass finish. Darian, an eight-light chandelier configured on a central hoop with the bulbs encased in rippling smoked water glass, is finished in oiled bronze. And who said conventional design couldn’t have a bit of attitude? Savoy House’s sleek Monroe sconce contrasts Americana style with polished nickel, giving the fixture a contemporary edge.
5. . . . And a Touch of Whimsy
If you like playful design, we recommend Troy Lighting’s concept of “sophisticated casual.” The latest collection features pieces sculpted in hand-formed iron, manila rope and the Epicurean elements one normally finds in the kitchen cupboard. Among these whimsical offerings that caught our eye (and made us a bit hungry) were Barista (a chandelier constructed out of coffee cups), and Bistro, which comprises several layers of forks, spoons, and knives. Bon appétit!
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