Salone del Mobile 2022 Day 2 - the new trend for statement lighting as art in its own right
Lee Broom, Tom Dixon and Cattelan Italia have all showcased new lighting designs in Milan that take the form of sculptures
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This seems to be the year of statement draped lightning at Salone del Mobile in Milan. Design houses are going bigger than ever before, creating drops that are longer than ever. But it's not just for people with really tall ceilings.
This sort of lighting is, in fact, 'ideal for a corner, to light a vignette you might want to highlight,' says the British designer Lee Broom, who is celebrating 15 years of his brand with a collection based solely on lighting.
In fact, this approach plays into one of the other interior design trends currently taking over, for creating small pools in corners of rooms to light vignettes and create distinct areas within a room. Tom Dixon calls this lighting trend 'light washing' and it's about bathing specific areas in a glow that you want to call out - art, or ornaments, or simply a place to sit and reflect.
And because the most important lesson I learned at journalism school is that three is all it takes to make a trend, here are three of most breathtaking new designs.
Designed by Studio Kronos, the gun metal grey Nahun ceiling lights loop down low. They have LED lights along their curve which spread light evenly - even in the enclosed space of the Salone fair we could tell how smooth and subtle they were.
As with all the best lights, they were just about illumination, but were so gentle they managed to be calming, too. Suspended in such a way that they bent as if in a dream. They would look best either over a wide kitchen island, a long dining table, or almost flat against a living room wall.
Another big British brand having an anniversary and celebrating with a stellar collection during Salone is Tom Dixon. 'We’ve got this 20th anniversary which everyone is keen to celebrate,' Tom told me. 'But I’m more keen to look ahead. I’m using it as a chance to review, to upgrade some of the pieces that have been best selling and to looking at more sustainable materials and practices.'
One of those pieces that got an upgrade - and was a star of his show at Palazzo Serbelloni - was the Mirrorball pendant, now multiplied and a vast chandelier. 'It's had an invisible makeover, using 100% recycled plastic,' Tom says.
Were to have a spiral staircase winding up from your entryway, this would be a delight suspended down the middle of it. Or, hang like a sculpture in the corner of the room, almost touching the ground, a piece of art that glows.
After 15 years at the head of his own brand, Lee Broom has designed everything from sofas to chairs to candles. But it's lighting he's always been known for, from his famous Decanterlights made out of crystal decanters to his best-selling Orion tubes.
'I haven't done a lighting collection for four years,' Lee says. 'And with my last full collection being for an entire apartment, with sofas, coffee tables and other furniture, I wanted to concentrate on lights again.'
The Requiem light at the top of this page and the Hoop light, above, are part of a limited edition section of his new collection, and hark back - slightly - to his first design. 'My first launch was a bentwood chair heralded in neon lights,' Lee says. 'It was more art than design, a piece of sculpture than something you'd sit on. I feel the same way about the Requiem Hoop and Globe - they're not so much lights for reading by but to enjoy as an installation in their own right.'
While the images might make them look as if suspended by cloth, the cloth is actually cloaked in plaster of paris, and solid. They are no less ethereal in real life however, each one individually made and shaped by Lee himself. 'I really wanted a piece made by my own hands,' he says, rightly proud of his incredible work.
More trends reported on from Salone del Mobile and around Milan as they happen.
The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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