After hitting the aisles of this year's International Furniture Fair, one thing is clear. Lighting, as a category, is huge. As a decorative component, great lighting has seen a steady build, and the plethora of innovative designs in unique and beautiful materials is astonishing. Playing with pure, less organic shapes, lighting has been distilled to its essence in a sculptural way. With mixed materials ranging from softly glowing unlacquered brass to stark black painted surfaces and warm woods, designs are being done in geometric, voluminous forms, but with softer, warmer and less starkly modern materials. Everything is illuminated.
My favorite fixtures of the show, for both their versatility and vintage inspired design came from first time exhibitor, LA's Atelier de Troupe. Made of a black powder coated paint finish the swopping lines and jaunty round bulbs encapsulated in metal casings have a playful, sophisticated design. Founder Gabriel Abraham does collaborations with The Ace Hotel and Commune, also of LA, so of course they are on the leading edge of what's cool now.
The Balise Sconce, with curvy arm, round metal mount and round opal glass casing
But wait, it gets better. They do a curvy standing lamp too.
The poetic piece de resistance at ICFF, The Synapse fixture from the incredibly innovative Gabriel Hendifar of Apparatus. Showcasing sculptural tension between circular arcs and linear forms, this piece wows. The glass is acid etched for a matte finish, and the brass is aged, so there is a quiet patina to the components.
Axon, the tabletop companion to the Synapse, is a full sphere shape that turns on and off with a simple to use touch dimmer. Notice the matte finish these Apparatus pieces have. Their designs are sure to set off a wave of matte surfaces-- a reaction against the high shine lacquer of late. Watch for more matte soon.
The beauty of Apparatus's designs, among other things, lies in their material choices, and often, mixed material pairings. Their new Horsehair Sconce takes its cue from Japanese design, combining hard and soft materials to stunning effect. This piece, in taut horsehair, steel and frosty glass wowed me in its purity, power and simplicity.
Available with brass or porcelain shades, Apparatus's softly subtle Trapeze lights showcase the linear tension and interplay of round forms, and can be suspended from the ceiling or walls as a pendant or as a sconce.
With encapsulated discs stretching from a central linear column with intersecting aluminum arms, the Jamie Gray Discuss Pendant, available in brass, black, copper or nickel finishes from Matter fuses classical and modern forms, old and new. Dimmable LED lights make the dynamic disks high tech while being influenced by the ancient Greek Olympic sport.
Organic forms give Rich Brilliant and Willing's Mori Pendants a soft serenity. Made of two interlocking steel hoops covered in fabric, the pieces are then coated in a matte lacquer to maintain there shape.
Made of Walnut or Oak wood discs, RBW's Radient Sconce has pure geometric appeal.
Glowing bars of light with a warm metallic presence shine through the Branch Sconce from RBW. Pierced metal covers give off a soft glow, giving the sconces and etherial quality.
And in other coolness, design duo Gregory Buntain and Collings are Fort Standard, a multi-discipline Brooklyn company that creates furniture and accessories as well as branding concepts, debuted this arresting glass and wood light fixture called Framework. It has a lightness of being, that comes from the white glass and pale Ash wood, as well as the dimmable LEDs. Its like a multi-sided glowing donut.
Even though it is a tad dark against the black background, you can see the cool effects of Brroklyn-based Bec Brittain's mirror, brass and glass Echo pendant, where the softened triangular pieces radiate outwards from a central core.
I love finding designs that take materials to an unexpected place. Covering frames in hand-crocheted knits, British designer Naomi Paul created Omi, beautiful hanging fixtures in soft geometric shapes. They were kind of magic.