Designer lighting is not just about extravagant focal pieces. There is an art and skill to choosing and placing lighting in your space that can transform mood, ambience, attitude, and functionality. To create the aura you desire, knowing the essential principles of lighting a room and having a familiarity with iconic lighting designers will help you illuminate your space to create the perfect experience in every room.
The Designer Lighting Rule of Three
To set the ideal mood in any room, use ambient, task, and accent light to create layers of light that will illuminate your space appropriately. Ambient lighting is the main source of light for a room, and can come in the form of track lighting, recessed cans, or chandeliers. One common mistake made with ambient light is allowing too much overhead light; this often will take away from the warmth of a room.
Task lighting is also important. It provides adequate light in task space (think at a desk, table, or reading chair) and can be created with desk lamps, under cabinet lighting or floor lamps. If you do not have enough task lighting in a room, you could run the risk of straining your eyes. Task lighting can make a space feel cozy and warm.
Accent lighting also plays a role in creating a beautiful space. Accent lighting is used to light up a statement piece of furniture or art, or can create drama by simply lighting up a hallway or wall.
A variety of light sources make rooms more flexible, and give you a simple way to change mood depending on the occasion.
With these basic lighting techniques, we can now dive into some world-renowned lighting designs that will transform any space.
After six generations of producing hand-cut crystal chandeliers, Lobmeyr is one of the most iconic designer lighting producers in the world. Their craftsmanship and innovation, combined with their vast experience, allows them to create breath-taking lighting experiences that have been sought for opera houses, elite homes and public art galleries around the globe.
Though they have been around for 200 years, they are still pioneers of subtlety, mingling contemporary design with centuries of tradition and sophistication. Lobmeyr represents luxury lighting at its finest. Offering one-of-a-kind bespoke pieces, you can create the perfect statement or ambient lighting to complement any room or décor.
This 1930’s Art Deco design combines classical shapes and modern elements. Its intricate design articulates a lush, classic Asian architectural form. Designed originally by Carl Witzmann to refurbish the cabaret and movie theatre Scala in Vienna, it is an elegant piece that would add a sophisticated aesthetic to any room.
Inspired by images of distant galaxies, this exquisitely playful and bold design is still a best seller after 40 years. Using crystal beads and polished metal, the Metropolitan Chandelier by J. & L. Lobmeyr alludes to a universe bursting with light. Designed for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, this stunning piece is as intricate as it is dazzling.
With a focused beam of light projecting from the lighting rod, through the walls of the mouth-blown, rotating projection dome, Ripple is an ingenious moving light piece. The dynamic table lamp creates waves of light providing an enchanting and soft underwater, romantic feel. This piece is quintessential mood lighting.
Palatial Designer Lighting from Bakalowitz
With over 170 years of experience, Bakalowitz has risen to become one of the most prestigious lighting suppliers in the entire world. The lightning creations from Bakalowitz are always palatial, and the company itself was given the order of Imperial and Royal Court Purveyor for the new Imperial Palace and the Redoutensäale under Emperor Franz Joseph in 1892. They also created the largest crystal chandelier ever built (at the time), for the parliament building in Belgrade. Those looking for the most opulent designer lighting pieces have found little reason to look further than Bakalowitz. That’s not to say that their designs only belong in palaces, they cater to a variety of tastes, offering everything from the traditional to contemporary chic.
Regal, and refined, this piece is a flawless example of why there has been a revival in crystal chandelier demand. It exhibits a warmth that is both dazzling and graceful, and would create an unforgettable ambience in your foyer, hallway or even dining room. The plentiful crystals will transform your space into one befitting an emperor.
The Mirakel Chandelier lives up to its phonetic namesake. This world famous design from the 1960’s is bold and a revelation in modern designer lighting. Light from a single bulb is transported down sleek, hand drawn, crystal glass rods that illuminate the ceiling and the room, creating a spectacle of radiance – a bursting miracle of light.
“Sphere Table Lamp with Glass Rods”
Timeless and versatile, this Sphere Table Lamp with Glass Rods combines the contemporary and the classic with an innovative and eye-catching design. Remaining elegant in its simplicity, it is graceful while nudging at whimsical. It is perfect for task lighting a side table.
Contemporary Refinement is Designer Lighting by Tom Dixon
The youngest of our featured designer lighting suppliers, Tom Dixon is a breath of innovation that draws on heritage for inspiration. The company’s rebellious and inventive reputation is the product of a self-taught designer and welder, who clearly has an incredible vision. Seemingly obsessed with new ways of making decorative lighting and furniture, Tom Dixon designs with the process in mind, drawing from the old and new to create a revolution in industrious methods of modern designer lighting creation.
Beat Lights were inspired by Tom Dixon’s visit to India. There to investigate how design interplays with different cultures, livelihoods, and people, he spent his time with brass beaters and marble workers. He was inspired by the unique aesthetic of metal manufacturing and designed these chic pieces to retain the influence of Indian water vessels. This particular design is made from spun brass and has a hand-beaten interior. The clean lines and angles of this design are perfect for kitchen island lighting.
The Melt Table lamp creates a bewitching distortion of light projected from its mesmerizing hot blown glass globe. When the lamp is turned on, the light radiating through the globe is translucent, giving the sense that the globe is melting, twisting and morphing before your eyes. When it is switched off, the lamp is completely mirror-finish, creating a chic focus piece. Using technologically advanced vacuum metallization, this lamp is both interesting and bold.
Inspired by the functional, clean lines of laboratory glassware, these smoke pendant lights create soft, luminous rings through a clear rippled glass lens. The smoked finish glass shade reflects an ingenuity and sleekness that would complement any modern room. This posh design speaks to a creative sensibility that is both simple and upscale.
Serge Mouille: French Icon in Designer Lighting
Even though he had received his master silversmith diploma from the School of Applied Arts in Paris in 1941, it wasn’t until 1952, when he was hired to design lighting fixtures, that Serge Mouille set the course for mid-century modern lighting.
As a member of the Society of Decorative Artists and the French National Art Society, the winner of the Charles Plumet Prize and the recipient of a Diploma of Honor at the Brussels Expo, Mouille was commissioned for institutional lighting in public buildings like the University in Antony, schools in Strasbourg and Marseilles, and for the Bizerte Cathedral. He was also pestered by celebrity Henry Fonda, who showed up on his doorstep, demanding him to design a lamp for him. In 1961, to encourage young and emerging lighting designers, he established the Société de Création de Modèles.
These graceful metal twist lamps are an elegant interpretation of a flame torch, giving a distinctive sense of a kinetic, sculptural aesthetic that suggests a movement through space. This design is one of Mouille’s pieces that was created as a reaction to Italian models entering the designer lighting market, that he deemed “too complicated”. This unique design gives the opportunity to create strategic shadows and adds flare to any room.
The Saturne Desk Lamp draws from the unmistakable shape of the sixth planet from the sun for inspiration. It is eclipse-like in its form and offers a trendy and highly functional modern light. This dashing piece was considered a revolutionary piece of metal work at the time, and still endures today. It’s minimalist design is a testament to art with function.
These totem floor lamps were one of Mouille’s later designs and considered more experimental than his other works. With stacked circular shades around a central light source, the light’s intensity varies and is not uniform by design. These totems are unique in style and character, and illuminate while making a statement.
Perfect Designer Lighting Tips
Now that you have plenty of inspiration for incorporating designer lighting into your space, it is essential to make sure you honor these designs and your space by not overlooking these three essential lighting tips:
One element that buyers often overlook, that can be fatal to the flow of a space, is what the lighting trim looks like when it is not illuminated. Whether it is task, ambient or accent lighting, poor trim choices can break up the flow of a room, or blend in, which can hinder or make the desired feel to the room.
Another mistake to avoid is purchasing lighting that doesn’t fit in your space. If your chandelier is too small, it may create unflattering shadows in the room and on your guests. If it is too big, it might overbear the dining table, and pose a risk to your guests’ heads as they rise from their seats. Carefully selecting the best sized table lamps are also essential. If they are too big or too small, the room may look disproportionate.
Perhaps the most crucial element to be aware of is placement. If your light fixture is in the wrong place, you can create shadows that will obstruct your vision and the most beautiful aspects of your room. Designer lighting is meant to be beautiful but isn’t worth much if it is not functional. Having a variety of light at different heights and locations in a room will help you avoid lighting fatigue.
With designer lighting, you can create any mood you desire for your rooms, whether it is elegant, cozy, regal, romantic or dramatic. And with this many styles to choose from, you cannot go wrong.