Innovations in LEDs, compounded with many designers' renewed interest in age-old illumination techniques, have brought new life to contemporary lighting design. To celebrate creativity in this enduring design sector, the following are five notable hanging lights in a variety of mediums spotted throughout the 2013 Milan Design Week.
On view at Ventura Lambrate in an exhibition put on by the London-based collective WORKs: Royal College of Art Graduates, Lola Lely's gorgeous PATINA project uses science to create a series of corroded lamps. Working with a master patineur from East London's Bronze Age Foundry, Lely hand-casts each piece in bronze using the lost-wax technique. The lamp shades are patinated using chemical formulas and oxidization methods, which includes being buried in dirt for periods of time. These processes create a protective layer of corrosion that produce textures, hues and veins resembling marble and stone. The lamps are then topped off with a dark wood fixture for a touch of gloss.
When attentively executed, the simplest of ideas are often the best—which is the case with Bernaer's Mood Light. The solid wood lamp is manually carved by hand using classic woodturning techniques, with editions available in oak, beech and ash. Toward completion a hard wax finish is applied to bring the wood's natural beauty to light, and prevent fading. A vibrant textile cord is then added to accent the sculptural light with a hint of color. While Bernaer's online presence is still in the works, keep an eye on the Belgium-based studio for their forthcoming e-commerce site.
Jan Plechac & Henry Wielgus
Taking inspiration from traditional crystal chandeliers, each of the five Neverending Glory pendants is made one at a time using traditional methods of blowing glass into oak molds—a truly tedious and difficult process. For the series, Italian lighting brand Lasvit tapped designers Jan Plechac and Henry Wielgus, who drew inspiration from the world's most iconic concert halls, including NYC's Metropolitan Opera to Paris' Palais Garnier.
Designed and built in-house by New Zealand's Resident Studio, the beautifully modern Hex Pendant makes dramatic work of a simple geometric shape. While the design's slim silhouette floats with imposing authority, the recessed LED light brings a calm, warming feeling. The lightweight aluminum body makes it ideal for home application.
Philip Cuttance for Resident Studio
Slip-cast from a mold of 11 individual wedge-shaped plaster segments, the Philip Cuttance for Resident Studio Segment Shade is a geometric work of wonder. Each wedge is cut at a different angle, yet no matter how they're put together, they create a uniquely-arranged closed circle that renders each shade a one-off design.
Contributions from Graham Hiemstra, Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten. PATINA and Mood Light images by Graham Hiemstra, others courtesy of Jan Plechac & Henry Wielgus and Resident Studio