Parents are increasingly design savvy, says Stephen Quiddington, director of online store Mood — Mini Objects of Desire. He is discussing the latest designer lighting for kids. The grown-ups are “choosing lighting that has a playful sensibility, a suggestion that life is not yet too serious”. But, he adds: “That doesn’t mean it should be puerile.”
Indeed, lighting for children from Mood is designed to make parents smile, too, from the table-top Little Cloud Lamp by Case Studyo, £139, with its warming, smiley face, to the clever, origami-style folded pendants by Dutch designers Studio Snowpuppe, from £105.
Mood’s playful offerings are mirrored by the latest lamps from top designers. At the Maison & Objet design shows in Paris last month, there were innovative and clever lines, including Light Stax, from £19.95 — building blocks that glow when connected to a powered base block — to the Eos feather pendant and table lamps, from £65, by affordable Danish design brand Vita, via the A4 lightbox from A Little Lovely Company, (£30), where you write messages with the letters included.
It is a wider trend that has at its heart multi-functional living — and the fact that parents and children are sharing spaces and tastes, according to Amanda Short, founder of award-winning design boutique Nubie, which stocks the feathered Eos as well as a nostalgic Smiley lamp, £165, and a beautiful ceramic night light with illuminated birds, £95.
“Family areas are now required to meet the needs of both parents and children,” she says. “Statement lighting is a great way to accessorise these spaces, because the element of playfulness can be enjoyed by both generations.”
We are also, adds Short, gravitating towards more upbeat and playful design this year. This means there is more choice for children than ever, even though some of the most popular children’s lighting designs were not created specifically with them in mind. For example, the Pigeon clip-on lamp, £72 from Liberty, designed by Ed Carpenter, has become an international bestseller.
Philip Watts’s globe-shaped Blimpy pendant, £135 is ideal for older childen’s rooms, as is the new breed of Lava Lamp, £65. Kartell’s recent Light-Air table lamp, £123, by Maison/Objet designer of the year Eugeni Quitllet is a great hit of colour in a child’s room, and Fiona Barratt-Campbell recently completed a children’s room using the bird chandelier by Mathieu Challières that was also on display at Maison & Objet.
German lighting maestro Ingo Maurer’s poetic, gently humorous lighting designs are ideal for children’s bedrooms because — as design classics — they will also furnish a teenager’s and grown-up’s room. A self-confessed big kid himself, Maurer insists that there is no other design medium as emotive, playful and open as lighting.
The designers CrousCalogero agree. For their Balloon lamp for Estiluz, the Spanish lighting company, Alessandro Calogero “wanted a story”.
“But we didn’t want a ‘toy’ lamp, we wanted simplicity. Somewhere in our memories, balloons are associated with nice moments in life: a day at the park with your family, a birthday, a vacation.
"That’s the sensation that is unconsciously recalled when you see our balloon lamp.
“We think it’s the best thought to have before going to bed.”