Chandeliers were originally used in noble houses throughout Europe in late medieval times and consisted of a wooden frame holding a series of candles, suspended from the ceiling. Over time, chandeliers developed into elaborate, decorative furnishings, consisting of multiple tiers, made by the finest goldsmiths and decorated with glass and crystal pendants.
The advent of electric light might have allowed designers more freedom, but chandeliers still retain an aura of luxury and opulence. ‘Big Crystal Wheel’ by Woka, for instance, consists of four tiers with crystal bead pendants that reflect and refract the light, and is an almost archetypal, modern chandelier. Another reinterpretation of the classic type by the same manufacturer is Adolf Loos’s ‘Dodekaeder Knize pendant lamp’, which encloses a light source within a regular polyhedron with a frame made of polished brass
Maarten Baas’s ‘smoke Chandelier’ for moooi comprises a classical, charred wood frame creating a lasting, otherworldly impression. Tom Dixon recreates the classic silhouette using a strongly linear elements in his steel-rod ‘Lightweight’ for Foscarini, whilst Gino Sarfatti’s ‘2097/50’ uses more curving gestures. David Chipperfield’s austere, minimalist ‘Chandelier doppio’ is a two tiered design in which upright borosilicate glass diffusers are mounted onto aluminium rings.
Verner Panton replaces the usual crystal pendants with small discs of mother of pearl in his ‘Fun Mother of Pearl 8DM | Hanging lamp’ for Verpan. Marcia Zia and Paul Priven also create a distinct design, but their ‘Tempest’ for Zia Priven consists of a series of large, droplet shaped light diffusers that hang from a shared plate. And while Sattler’s ‘Soft Delta’ chandelier, is a serious, minimally detailed chromed frame with integrated lighting, Bertjan Pot’s tongue-in-cheek ‘Downstairs Light’ for DHPH mounts a series of light bulbs onto a folding ladder that hangs upside-down.