Seeing the Light

January 5, 2011

Text by Cheryl & Jeffrey Katz

Though our children—one a serious modernist and the other a staunch traditionalist—might once have disagreed, the most prized possession in our house is the dining room chandelier. Fanny, the modernist, found its gilt frame fussy, never mind the fact that it was from the 1920s. Oliver, the traditionalist, thought the Murano glass beads—okay, they are aqua—over the top. The chandelier was the first purchase we made after we renovated our house. We liked the idea that this curly, colorful fixture would hang over our hefty, sensible wooden table. We approached the purchase as one might buy a piece of costume jewelry or a pretty scarf—it was a charming bauble to complement a more serious piece. What we all underestimated was the power of light. Years later, after having shared many magical meals under the chandelier’s warm glow, seems we’ve all seen the light.

For information about what type of bulbs to use in your lighting fixtures, check out Shedding Light and learn how the right lighting goes a long way to create a welcoming space.

Photo descriptions, left to right, first row:
Larger Than Life The apparent size of a chandelier is not just a function of its measurements; it’s also about density. Though it’s true that this showstopping Murano glass and crystal chandelier is extra tall (it’s meant for a very high-ceilinged room), its narrow silhouette displays a delicious delicacy. The Torpedo Taif from Barovier & Toso is available in three different heights, with nine, twelve or eighteen lights, and in nine colors. $18,610–$45,624. THE MORSON COLLECTION, BOSTON, (617) 482-2335, WWW.THEMORSONCOLLECTION.COM

Twinkle, Twinkle Crystals, those glittering jewels on a chandelier, are actually pieces of glass cut with many facets that act as prisms to refract light. The Glitterbox from Swarovski’s Crystal Palace collection comes in three sizes and uses twinkling 1-watt LEDs on the sides and constant 1-watt LED downlights. $16,000–$34,000. MONTAGE, BOSTON, (617) 451-9400, WWW.MONTAGEWEB.COM

Sparkle Plenty Turn a small guest bathroom into a jewel box with Dennis & Leen’s aptly named Powder Room chandelier. Though small in size, it packs a punch with its adornments of lead or rock crystals. 15”D x 17”H. LEAD CRYSTAL $2,370, ROCK CRYSTAL $3,120. WEBSTER & COMPANY, BOSTON DESIGN CENTER, (617) 261-9660, WWW.WEBSTERCOMPANY.COM

The Art of the Unexpected Once the basic look of a room is established, finding the unexpected accessory can be a challenge (though one worth conquering). Of all a room’s accoutrements, a chandelier offers the most possibilities for surprise. To wit: the unusual, three-tiered Arctic Pear chandelier from Ochre, available in patinated bronze or nickel. 23.5”D. $5,315. NEENA’S LIGHTING, BOSTON, (617) 859-1700, WWW.NEENASLIGHTING.COM

Photo descriptions, left to right, second row:
Fit for a King Named after the palace of King Louis XIV, the Grand Trianon from Artecnica is made of lightweight post-consumer coated Tyvek and emits, from its folded slits, a soft checkerboard glow. 23”H x 28”D. $170. IN HOME, EXETER, N.H., (603) 583-4889

Science Class A riff on those single-celled organisms we learned about in junior high, the Ameba Single, by Pete Sans for Vibia, is sleek and understated. It comes in two unassuming colors: white lacquer and charcoal gray. 17¾W” x 11”H. $2,810. WOLFERS LIGHTING, ALLSTON, MASS., (617) 254-0700, WWW.WOLFERS.COM

All Tied Up Modern chandeliers defy definition. Not exactly standard issue, they often employ materials like aluminum, sandblasted glass, polypropylene or, in the case of the Leonardo hanging lamp from Santa & Cole, coated-paper strips of ribbon bound around a steel frame. 2’D, $2,600; 4’D, $4,000. CHIMERA, BOSTON, (617) 542-3233, WWW.CHIMERALIGHTINGDESIGN.COM

Flower Power The Garland light, designed by Studio Tord Boontje and included in the permanent collections of both the Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, is made from one continuous metal strand that can be wrapped around a lightbulb any way you choose. Available in silver, brass, black or white. $70. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS, WISCASSET, MAINE, (207) 882-9930

Photo descriptions, left to right, third row:
Have a Ball Common design wisdom suggests a chandelier be hung over the center of the table. But with fixtures like Roberto Menghi’s Globo di Luce from FontanaArte, more than one just might be in order. The metallic, blown-glass globe hangs from a transparent cord. 11.4”H x 11.8”D, $749; 16.9”H x 17.7”D, $1,065. CASA DESIGN, BOSTON, (617) 654-2974, WWW.CASADESIGNBOSTON.COM

Floating on Air Elegant and simple, the aluminum Allegro suspension lamp brings a sense of airiness to a room. Think of it as a modern birdcage and indulge in flights of fancy. It comes in several configurations and sizes, and in black, brown or gold. $3,868 AS SHOWN. ADDO NOVO, PORTLAND, MAINE, (207) 221-2780, WWW.ADDONOVO.COM


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