Featured in all 2015’s major exhibitions so far, the trend for hand-blown glass lighting shows no sign of slowing. From New York and Clerkenwell Design Week to Salone Del Mobile and Maison D’Objet - an increasing number of designers are now experimenting with this technique.
The use of glass within lighting is attributed to the Venetians, specifically the small island of Murano. It was here in the 1930s that the workshops began exploring new uses for their specialist material. The resulting success initiated a revolution for the Italian lighting industry – launching the careers of revered design houses, Silnovo and Arredoluce whilst providing an additional outlet for traditional glassmakers such as Sciolari.
The market’s current focus for mid-century design has resulted in a significant revival for original Italian glass designs. Van den Akker Antiques in New York frequently stocks lamps by designers such as Sarfatti and Lelli. Co-owner Rob Copley says prices for lighting by Silnovo, Arredoluce, Arteluce “have skyrocketed over the past five to 10 years, as postwar Italian lighting is one of the best ways to modernise a traditional interior, or to add warmth to a stark, minimalist plan”.
Its hard not to see the appeal. In contrast to the utilitarian, uniform finish created using mass production methods (either machine-blown or casting), traditional blown-glass gifts each design a unique identity. The natural imperfections and organic shapes typical of this approach cause each section to react differently to light. It’s this effect that has caught the imagination of today’s designers. From pendants and table lamps to chandeliers and wall lights, it is now easier than ever to invest in this trend.
Here we present our selection of the design studios coming up trumps with their latest creations:
1. JEFF ZIMMERMAN
Celebrated glass artist Jeff Zimmerman is one of the designers leading the trend for contemporary lighting in New York. Along with Lindsey Aldeman, David Weeks and Beth Brittain, Zimmerman’s work with glass is as a means of expression rather than an end in itself.
For the past two decades, Zimmerman’s focus has been pushing the possibilities of glass, constantly finding new ways to transcend the material’s natural rigidity or “glassiness.” Trained in the classical Venetian approach, Zimmerman’s signature organic shapes (particularly his ‘snake’-themed lightning pendants) have acquired a significant following among collectors.
His experimental work is complimented by his award winning range of lighting (from $1,800) and private commissions. These bespoke projects, featuring show-stopping wall installations as well as lighting fixtures for commercial and collectors, begin at around $125,000 per creation.
2. LINDSEY ALDEMAN
New York based Lindsey Adelman, 45, has become a key figure in city’s design scene since establishing her studio in 2006.
Mentored by famed designer David Weeks, her practical approach and collaborative process has influenced a number of emerging New York designers, resulting in a “makers” scene that Adelman said began after the financial crash in 2008. Her protegés include Bec Brittain – a now celebrated designer in her own right – and most recently Mary Wallis, whose work was exhibited by Lindsey in May’s New York Design Week.
Exploring the visual tension between natural blown glass and rational machined components, her studio’s signature aesthetic emerged from the release of their first piece ‘ The Branching Bubble.’ Working with a team of 28, all product are designed, prototyped and built within her Manhattan based loft studio.
Lindsey’s lighting designs are sold by internationally renowned galleries including Nilufur in Milan and BDDW in New York. Her work has also been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Design Miami fair.
Founded in 2013, Barcelona based lighting company Parachilna is dedicated to producing handcrafted design through collaborations with the world’s top designers. Their debut lighting collection paired works from American designer Stephen Burks with a range of handblown-glass table lamps by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon.
Hayon’s collection titled, ‘Aballs’ (from £1,034), are minimalist in style that Jaime describes as being, “comprised of rich materials, traditional skills blended with artisanal craftsmanship and impeccable finishes”. Centred around the spherical blown-opal-glass spheres, the 3 different sized table lamps are complimented by a decedent chandelier with 24 globes. Each model is available in either a golden electroplated, white, or black lacquered steel ceramic base.