CHANDELIERS: THE ART OF LIGHTING
Chandeliers make a lighting statement in every room and are never short on style. Made from materials ranging from glass, crystal, wood and metal, chandeliers have stood not only for function but fine art and ornate design that have continued to impact decor for centuries in dwellings, businesses, churches and large event places.
The word chandelier originates from the word “candelabra” which is French for “candlestick.” Though displayed in wide varieties today, chandeliers have humble beginnings that can be traced back to prehistoric times and early civilizations that used oil and grease lamps. But over time, chandeliers became a marker of high-end taste, prestige and wealth no matter if candles or bulbs lit them.
The most coveted designer chandeliers harken back to the lavish times of Louis XIV to 19th century exquisite looks of style revivals to Art Deco to industrial varieties that channel downtown loft-style motifs.
French Baroque & rock crystal chandeliers
Rock crystal chandeliers are an exquisite statement from the French Baroque style of the 17th century. During the reign of Louis XIV, chandeliers consisting of rock crystal or quartz along with gilded bronze appealed to wealthy patrons — think grandiose, theatrical and dramatic. The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles in France is adorned with these chandeliers. They are truly a testament of the French monarchy of the time and each of the stones used in these light fixtures create the added perk of reflecting light. An authentic chandelier of the French Baroque period has a “birdcage” frame.
An inventive yet classic location for one of these antique chandeliers is in a study, rich with old books and over a solid wood desk. For entertainment, hanging these exquisite chandeliers provides a gorgeous and decadent source of light to an evening outdoor wedding table under an open-air tent. They are also perfect for bedrooms with a four-poster/canopy style bed
Intricate chandeliers light the way of Art Deco
Streamlined and beautifully detailed, Art Deco designer chandeliers come in a multitude of materials. This is a reflection of the Art Deco design movement, which involves a wide variety of styles with key pieces often made of brightly colored glass and detailed with remarkable etchings. They are held together by everything from brass, bronze, nickel and metal stem pieces. Everything about these antique chandeliers reflects this modern art style — functional with practical purpose while also adding artistic touches to a space. Made popular in the 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco first appeared in France just before World War I. It is an international style known for the standout geometric forms of Cubism, reminiscent of “futuristic” machinery. The authentic, larger-than-life chandelier in the New Yorker Hotel in New York City is a gorgeous example of Art Deco style and has perfect placement in the lobby.
When seeking Art Deco-inspired antique chandelier for the home, consider them for hanging directly above kitchen bars, dining room tables and bathrooms. As for retail businesses, they can be lovely editions to high-end dressing rooms, boutiques or cigar bars.
A modern take on chandeliers
Everything about modern designer chandeliers is about innovation — whether it is the molecular and sputnik style of Stilnovo, the sleek cylinders of Gaetano Sciolari or the revivalist flair of Arteluce. Each one of them has a touch of their predecessors’ influence yet incorporates modern looks and function. They are usually made from brass, steel, metal, chrome or even glass and have the capability of transitional lighting. As opposed to some of the more heavily ornamented looks of years before, modern designer chandeliers are all about sophistication. Because of the wide versatility of modern designer chandeliers, you can place them in a number of locations in a home or business.
Aeronautical engineer and modern lighting pioneer Gino Sarfatti founded the lighting and interior design company Arteluce, in Milan, Italy. The style of Arteluce harkens back to the traditional look of using small points of light atop multiple arms that extend out from the fixture. Running a few along the ceiling of a long hallway or entryway creates a polished yet tastefully luxurious look. Other Arteluce styles feature brightly colored lampshades that are perfect for game rooms or spaces with mid-century modern attributes.
Italian lighting manufacturer Stilnovo was founded by designer Bruno Gatti in 1946, which holds a form-follows-function mentality. Stilnova antique chandeliers look lovely in a great room or den. The idea is the pair it with comfort but also elegance. They do well breaking up the lines amongst rooms so don’t hesitate to make them a focal point between the kitchen and dining room.
Gaetano Sciolari chandeliers have just a splash of drama, which pairs well over a dining room table or is a wonderful statement piece in upscale restaurants. Their sleek design can acclimate with bold architecture. Being that Sciolari was the in-house designer for the legendary Stilnova, the two styles have similarities that make them compatible. During the 1960s, Sciolari moved on to his own light manufacturing company and shifted to a more futurist, space-aged look with his chandeliers, which can set off minimalist style décor perfectly. Some of the chrome and smoked glass antique chandeliers can be just the right look for high-end studio apartments.
But no matter what, given the extensive looks of designer chandeliers in every era of influence, they are guaranteed to create the right mood for every room. All you need is a little ingenuity to light your way to the perfect chandelier and you will evoke the ideal finishing touch to a curated space.