From kitchens and bathrooms to living areas and play zones, our choice of lighting will help define the look of a space, so it pays to check out some of the most contemporary and eye-catching fittings available today. Here's a curated edit of Livingetc's favourites designs, all guaranteed to become a major talking point in your decorating scheme.
1. French industrial luxe
Designed in 1958, Serge Mouille's ceiling lamp is instantly recognisable for its long slender arms and domed shades, which brought a fresh, modern aesthetic
to metalwork, one of the most tradition-bound mediums in the decorative
arts. Mouille's designs became so popular that Hollywood legend Henry Fonda turned up at his workshop and refused to leave until Mouille created a bespoke lamp for him - so you're in good company if you choose one of these iconic fittings!
2. American minimalism
Sometimes less is more when it comes to overhead lighting, especially when the room is as spacious and full of detail as the kitchen-diner shown above. But look closely at that trio of pendants hanging over the cooking zone and see how effortlessly they fit into the scheme. Produced by New York lighting company Early Electrics, these Prismatic chandeliers take the trend for upcycling vintage metalwork and the fashion for bare, exposed bulbs to new heights of sophistication.
3. British steel
Made from a series of interconnected spheres, the Beads pendant by Brit stalwart Holloways of Ludlow appears like a molecule floating high overhead. Available in this copper or a polished-silver finish, the Beads offers a dazzling array of reflections within reflections - looking inside the pendant reveals a series of ever-diminishing versions of the light source. Fascinating, beautiful and sculptural...
4. Flamboyant feathers
Based in a 17th-century Palladian house in the Cotswolds, A Modern Grand Tour comprises a series of eclectic and offbeat objects curated by collector and cultural connoisseur James Perkins. James has also branched out to produce his own fabulous selection of lighting, furniture and accessories, including this amazing Ostrich Feather lamp. A future design classic in the making, it's already made a grand impression in some of the funkiest homes in the UK. A statement piece that's sure to inspire...
5. Cool concrete
Called the Edison - after the famous American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison - this concrete-shaped bulb plays with our conception of what contemporary lighting should look like. With its shade shaped as a bulb (and with another bulb inside), the design, created by Swede Tove Adman, has universal appeal. Made on the Swedish island of Gotland, the Edison is cast in concrete on the mainland using aluminium moulds created in India - proof positive that globalisation really works!
6. Dutch delight
Taking its cue from the work of Italian lighting maestros Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, this Zeppelin pendant by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders for Flos is a unique combination of styles. Beneath the cocoon-like outer material, the inner structure takes the form of a traditional chandelier, but with the addition of a faceted crystal globe located in the middle, creating a dazzling, sparkle-like effect. Ethereal and effortlessly stylish, the Zeppelin is as awe-inspiring as its namesake.
7. Custom craft
Another devotee of upcycling unusual objects is New York lighting designer Lindsey Adleman, who sources old clamps on eBay, has them plated in brass and then gets her skilled glass blowers to mold the molten material around each one before letting the glass slump with gravity. The result is this astonishing Clamp light, a fitting both unique and instantly recognisable. Heavy metal with a twist, you might say...
8. Vintage vellum
Not something you might find readily on the high street, but desirable objects well worth seeking out, these vintage Italian pendant shades were made in parchment around the turn of the Forties. Similar in looks to Wanders' Zeppelin design, they show how the influence of the Castiglioni brothers not only inspired the future of lighting, but also referenced the styles of the past. To find fine Italian lighting of this era, check out 1stdibs.com.
9. Design masterpiece
In continuous production since 1962 and with a profile that has been copied endlessly, but never emulated fully, Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni's Arco floor lamp for Flos is a true design classic. Amazingly simple in its conception - the brothers wanted to create a lamp that people didn't have to walk around, so they came up with the idea of a curvaceous light source 'suspended' from its Carrara marble base by way of this slender, adjustable stem. Every minute detail was thought of, including the holes in the marble to facilitate picking up the base and its rounded edges ensure that even if you do accidentally knock into it, it won't do any harm. We're happy enough to bump into this beauty anytime...
10. Blink and you'll miss ’em
When lighting needs to be subdued yet flattering, there's only one place to look - the amazing series of fittings created by Israeli-born Omer Arbel for Canadian brand Bocci. The 14 Series (look carefully - they're mounted flush on to the mirror) are low-voltage lights cast in a barely-visible glass half sphere. A modern update of the lighting used to illuminate Hollywood or theatrical-style make-up mirrors, their subtle glow is ideal for bathrooms, dressing areas or snug rooms around the house. By the way, those lights seen reflected in the mirror are the Selene suspension lights by Sandra Lindner for ClassiCon, but we'll talk about those another time. Stay tuned!
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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