Lighting installation and design use illumination to achieve a practical and / or aesthetic effect. It includes both customary artificial light sources – such as lamps and light fixtures – and enhanced performance fittings that improve the overall appearance of an area, or a key aspect. cover image: Il Lusso

As with any other sector within the interior portfolio, lighting design continues to evolve. R&D in technology is a major reason for this, and as manufacturers originate advanced fixtures and light sources, specifiers and end users incorporate them within personal spaces. Tastes and preferences also change with generations, which is why styles such as vintage, art deco and mid-century modern lighting have evolved. While 2019 has not brought any radical changes in lighting design to date, there are several notable trends to consider. Here, we look at directions as we reach mid-year and ask those in the know for informed comment:

In contemporary lighting for 2019, what are the main indicators?

Tracey-Lee Gradidge from Casarredo says: ‘The materials used are key and range from naturals such as stone to various fabrics and different types of metal. Manufacturing techniques also play a role in 2019 with one-of-a-kind and artistic luminaires, made by hand by artisans rather than being produced by ultra-modern robotic machines. The lighting brand Penta has always paid great attention to the stylistic component of its creations in collaboration with internationally renowned designers and specialised technicians. They combine technology with high aesthetic content, creating fascinating designs, whether switched on or off.’

‘Some trending fittings include balls and there are adjustable suspensions such as the Parachute in our 2019 collection,’ says a spokesman for French design studio, Ligne Roset. ‘And eco-friendly materials are being used, such as raffia, rattan, paper, rusted and oxidized blue metal. And brass as a finish is coming on strongly. Textile clad cables are on trend, as is blown glass for shades.’

Kelly Klopper of importers Eurolux: ‘Lighting trends aren’t as fleeting as those in fashion, so it’s easier for us to keep up with what’s happening globally. Material-wise, we’re seeing lots of copper, brass, concrete, wood and opalescent white glass. There’s also a leaning towards matt finishes as opposed to shiny surfaces.’

Meanwhile, the industrial style has always been about rustic accents, neutral colours and an emphasis on metal. In 2019, retro is making a comeback, but in a different way, i.e. modern industrial lighting that is starkly different from what is more widely recognised as traditional industrial. Is this upgraded industrial or rather modern retro? Unlike the warehouse / loft-interior styles that are proven industrial signatures, we’re seeing sleeker, metal-rich and more varied tones in alternative designs.

Don’t be afraid of 2019 industrial fixtures, they are no longer the brutal, unfinished fittings that belonged in the genre of retro punk. This updated look fits perfectly with any 21st-century décor handwriting.

Shedding Light on Design

For decades, art deco and mid-century modern styles have been up front in interior design, yet coordinating lighting has not followed the same trends. These iconic signature styles form a continuous line from the 1920s to the 1970s and both emphasise clean lines and an appealing balance of form with art. Art deco lighting focuses on sharp linearity and pleasing geometric design, while mid-century modern is evocative of natural shapes that combine functional form with aesthetics.

Ligne Roset: ‘The inclusion of plenty of glass shapes is typically art deco and it’s still popular. But in our view, the industrial trend is out of fashion in the high echelon sector.’

Eli Kalmi of leading importer K. Light Import agrees on both these opinions: ‘Modern Industrial is phasing out currently; however art deco remains very popular.’   

Today’s homeowners are opting for simpler lighting solutions that synergise with modern signatures. Minimalism is likely to become ever more popular during 2019 as more low-profile luminaires enter the market, which focus on simple geometric designs; neutral or soft colours and prominence of form over extravagant aesthetics.

Such contemporary lighting is very versatile, whether it be applied in living / dining areas, kitchen or master suite. Certain fixtures can work as statement pieces, especially when used overhead to create a simple yet bold signature – ideally standing on their own – uncluttered by other fittings. Yet, don’t feel any pressure to choose a specific style; the best lighting solution is one that works well in a given space, and for a defined task or effect. 

Switched On

Says Leigh Shaw of VETi: ‘A beautiful home with state-of-the-art furniture, appliances and décor is everybody’s dream. However, even the most luxurious homes have electrical outlets and switches that were designed last century, without a thought as to how they look.

‘Almost every room has electrical sockets with adaptors and extension cords to cater for all the appliances we now use on a daily basis; accompanied by switches and controls that, while functional, are not sympathetic to the overall ambiance of the interior space.’

VETi is a range of electrical products from Major Tech, created by South Africans for South Africans to the highest quality standards, with the goal of providing optimal performance along with an elegant design that will enhance the look-and-feel of any interior design project.

For the full article see Habitat #272 July / August 2019

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