Table lamps, uplighters, floor lamps and spots all give your home an instant fix.
“Lighting is the best way to transform your environment,” says star designer Tom Dixon. See latest lines at his recently revamped showroom in Portobello Dock, W10.
Every designer, it seems, is doing lighting. French maverick Philippe Starck and starchitect Norman Foster are at it, along with small craft outfits such as Cornish wood bender Tom Raffield and Anthony Dickens at Made by the Forge.
Newbie is ex-art teacher Charles Lethaby whose Elara pendant, a starburst of golden rods, is stocked by Heal’s. Meanwhile, SCP in Shoreditch has commissioned top international designers for its own-brand lighting.
Walk around the Melt collection at Tom Dixon and the orb-like shades look different from every angle, thanks to their clever shape. They give the effect of mouth-blown glass but in fact are moulded from light-weight polycarbonate with a shiny metallic finish in copper, gold or chrome. They become translucent when lit. Prices are from £380 for a mini-pendant to £1,100 for the largest floor lamp.
EMBRACING THE NEW
Designers are loving the new technologies, including power-saving cool-touch LEDs in neat “integrated” strips, laser-cut metal and 3D printing. Mobile phones operate smart home lighting, and your bulb can even be a speaker.
New sculptured Voronoi bulbs at Heal’s have low-heat LED filaments, while innovator Plumen’s latest LED filament bulb has a gold centre designed by a jeweller. There’s even a “levitating bulb” that hovers in the air using electromagnetism at The Conran Shop.
All Ikea lights are now LEDs, which use 85 per cent less energy and last up to 20 times longer than tungsten.
CHERISHING THE OLD
By contrast, traditional crafts are also cherished, for blowing glass, forging iron, and turning or bending wood, with shades that ooze the solid worth of old materials.
Consider Terence Woodgate’s perfectly balanced wood and marble. These heavier designs need a good fixing — you may have to strengthen your ceiling.
“Art” light is at every design show — for example exquisite lamp shades by painter Anna Jacobs and hand-folded glass lamps by Aline Johnson, both London based.
Anglepoise does specials by Paul Smith, the latest a Mondrian melange of primary colours. London’s edgier brands include Innermost, in Oxo Tower Wharf, SE1 and Decode, with a carbon lantern made with racing car tech.
WHERE TO SHOP
A light crawl in the West End starts at Heal’s — look out for sleek new brand wrong.london. A natty booth offers stylish flexes, to pick and mix with bulb holders and bulbs for a perfect combo.
Alongside is Habitat with a new basement “cave” of light. “Naked bulbs are now our heroes,” says design director Polly Dickens, who has trapped them in thin black metal cages, for style statements at good prices.
In walking distance in Great Titchfield Street is quirky Dutch brand Moooi, with outsize pendants and surreal black animal lamps.
Ligne Roset in Mortimer Street offers French-style chic with 15 per cent off, then it’s on to John Lewis, with a vast spread and a “bulb bar”.
In Finchley Road, NW11, The Lighting Store is a family firm that will design and install — which is good to know. John Lewis also has a fitting service, while Habitat easy-fit cage shades just clip on.