It feels like someone forgot to turn the lights on out there this month, with asphalt skies doing little to boost the spirits. But there’s no hint of gloom inside London’s prime new properties these days, which frequently feature huge, statement chandeliers to steal the gaze and light up the show.
The converging trends of ultra-high ceilings and the demand for fully-dressed and designed turnkey properties lend themselves to some spectacular contemporary chandeliers. Large lateral spaces can be defined by a dramatic light piece, such as Moon – a two-metre wide pendant designed by Davide Groppi and available from The Conran Shop for £9,163. It casts a sultry glow above a dining table or bed, inspired by the play of light and dark in Caravaggio’s “Supper at Emmaus”, says Groppi. “It generates a diffused light that’s sweet and welcoming and it’s born from a dream of bringing the moon home,” he explains.
Moon pendant designed by Davide Groppi and on sale at The Conran Shop
Where a large stairwell is available, however, there’s nothing quite as eye-catching as a chandelier that descends several storeys, such as the one in the triplex apartment at Finchatton’s Kingwood in Knightsbridge, priced at £19m through Knight Frank. The eight-metre long pendant chandelier is made from glowing alabaster shades and bronzed rods – a customised version of one from Atelier Alain Ellouz – and drops down three storeys from the reception room to the lower basement.
The eight-metre long chandelier at Finchatton’s Kingwood in Knightsbridge
“It is as much a sculptural piece of art as it is a light fixture,” says Finchatton interior designer Danielle Joyce. “We wanted a dramatic statement piece for the apartment’s entrance which highlighted the ceiling heights, and we used mirrors as a backdrop to the pendant to create more light.”
Designers Bowler James Brindley have also turned their hand to a statement chandelier or two lately, such as those at Hampstead Manor, where they have suspended three custom-made chandeliers from the 4.5-metre ceilings in the renovated, historic Skeel Library (a suitably statuesque Gigi Hadid is among those to have eyed up the property), on sale for £7.95m, and similarly striking pieces in The Chapel, on sale for £7.5m through Knight Frank and CBRE. “Devising interiors concepts for these properties demanded animation and a true celebration of the extraordinary volume of space,” comments Bowler James Brindley’s co-founder, Lucy Southall.
Skeel Library at Hampstead Manor
Bowler James Brindley sourced an equally eye-catching chandelier from Alfie’s antiques market in Marylebone for the £20m penthouse at Nova in Victoria, with views across to Buckingham Palace. The giant stairway at the heart of the apartment is large enough to assemble an entire orchestra, assure Knight Frank, who are marketing the property for £20m
The Nova Penthouse, on sale through Knight Frank for £20m
A custom-made chandelier “is like a piece of jewellery for the room”, comments Aneeqa Khan, CEO of eporta.com, the online interior design marketplace who report that chandeliers and ceiling lighting were the most searched-for items among interior designers in 2017. Art Deco chandeliers are a big trend, according to eporta, and the likes of Charles Lethaby Lighting Il Paralume Marina and Cedrimartini are among the most sought-after brands.
The idea of lighting as jewellery has been embraced, too, by designers Spinocchia Freund, in collaboration with Lisa Ronson Home, in the duplex penthouse at Riverwalk, on sale for £25m through Knight Frank and Savills. The chandelier in the double-height reception room was inspired by a vintage charm bracelet whose design was developed into a bespoke lighting installation, with hand-blown glass “charms” hanging on a copper chain.
Riverwalk Penthouse Living Room lighting feature CREDIT: PHILIP VILE
Chandeliers have always been a symbol of opulence and status, but they have turned a new leaf in their boldness of design, scale and materials used, from the gold lustre of Lalique or textured metalwork and alabaster in pieces in One Hyde Park by Elicyon in partnership with Baccarat, to chandeliers with a driftwood frame and, in the case of a chandelier for a gym that Dara Huang of Design Haus Liberty is currently working on, rope.
One Hyde Park features lighting by Elicyon in partnership with Baccarat CREDIT: NICK ROCHOWSKI
“We may say we’re designing a light when we mean a HUGE sculpture of 400 lights that spans architectural scales,” says Huang, who recently created a chandelier “the size of a room” for Four Seasons and came up with one for Cartier that gave the impression of rain. “So far, the longest span we have done was for a home in Hong Kong and that was 20 metres,” she adds.
Further trends in the chandelier world include oversize models with large cut crystals. “Swarovksi’s Glacarium collection of crystal lighting, inspired by glacier ice, moves away from traditional cut crystal for the first time and is very popular with clients at the moment. Nothing cheers up a dreary January like a glistening, glittering lump of ice,” says Philip Hine, founder of Cornflake, who design bespoke home automation systems.
Light fixtures that appear to magically float are also in demand, says Hine, and there are even interactive chandeliers that can display text messages (Ron Arad’s Lolita chandelier, made from 2,100 Swarovski crystals). “Modern lighting controls mean the character of the chandelier can be easily changed to suit the mood of the client and what’s happening in the room,” Hine comments.
Ron Arad’s Lolita Chandelier can be programmed to display text messages
But as high-tech as their chandeliers may be, owners still like to control it with a good old-fashioned light switch. “Surprisingly in this age of automated controls, many people are reluctant to move away from wall-located panels,” says Hine. “Traditional-looking Bakelite flick switches are still one of the most requested styles – albeit with clever tech now hidden behind the plate.”