by John Ortved
Industrial designer Piet Houtenbos re-imagined the chandelier as an elegant ceramic ring with six flames, dubbed "The Halo." Inspired by the movement to phase out the world's 60-watt incandescent light bulbs, Houtenbos—who played with fire before with his hand-grenade oil lamps—has created an elegant lighting system completely free of electrical components.
Designed to function with all forms of candle oil, including ultra pure liquid paraffin (you can even use scented oil, if that's your thing), the Halo can burn for 20 hours before requiring a re-fuel—providing light for twice as long as a candle at one fifteenth the cost ($3/20 hr burn). Additionally, Houtenbos incorporated fiberglass wicks into the design, eliminating the need to ever replace them.
Raised in NYC by Dutch parents, the designer always enjoyed the inviting and relaxing attributes of candlelight, but was bothered how the form had been relegated to knick-knacks. Setting out to reinvigorate the primitive approach as a primary form of lighting, he experimented with floor lamps, but they always came out looking like accessories. A chandelier seemed much more like a fixture and the ovular shape (the ring flares slightly) and placement of the flames mitigated the effects of the shadows the lights would cast. Houtenbos formulated the brass armature to taper upwards from the ring, leaving empty space to highlight the complete lack of electrical intrusion.
"The connecting factor lately has been inspiration from our religious and royal past and then exploring the boundaries of modernism," says Houtenbos. Sounds intriguing, but big ideas aside, the designer candidly admits his true inspiration, "I wanted a bigger candle!"
The Halo sells exclusively at Matter.