For hundreds of years, crystals and faceted glass have been set into lamps to produce brilliant refracted patterns, amplifying the light output. By the 18th century, crystal chandeliers took on the baroque and rococo forms we still associate with traditional hanging light fixtures today. But modern designers are seeing crystal in a new light — literally — producing creations with similar glittering effects in fresh and unexpected new forms. These four lamps pair Swarovski crystals, blown glass and transparent resin with LED lights for beautifully icy results.
Taking its name from the optical phenomenon that sometimes seems to form a circle around the sun or moon, “HALO” is a minimalist chandelier made of Swarovski crystals applied to a galvanized bowden cable affixed with LED lights. The circular design, which can be layered in various sizes, is hung horizontally or vertically, either secured to a wall or suspended from the ceiling. Designed by János Héder, HALO casts sparkling refractions of light throughout the room, whether it’s turned on or glittering in natural daylight.
It’s no surprise that this chandelier was designed by an architect, given its skyscraper-like arrangement of clear glass, which protrudes from the base like a city block. Daniel Libeskind’s signature ultramodernism translates beautifully to interior accents, taking a fresh look at overhead lighting by discarding tired conventions to bring something new to the table. The Ice Chandelier features glass cells blown into angular molds for a frozen effect. The glass is suspended from a reflective triangular plate, which can be arranged in groupings to create larger-scale lighting installations. The glass elements were hand-blown by glassworkers at the Czech Republic factory of lighting brand Lasvit.
“It is so gratifying to collaborate with skilled workers whose expertise derives from centuries of design intelligence and artistic ambition, yet who are willing to experiment and do things differently to help realize my ideas,” says Libeskind. ”I am always mindful when designing products, just as I am as an architect, to create something truly unique and functional.”
Swarovski crystals get yet another modern makeover in the hands of Gwenael Nicolas of the Japanese design studio Curiosity. “Sparks” is an illuminated swag that hangs from one corner of the room to another. Part of an art installation at the Swarovski Crystal Palace, which also included LED lights floating in helium balloons, the design is more than it seems at first glance. The individual crystals produce tiny refractions which seem to leap across the room like electrical sparks. While most people aren’t going to want a swag of crystal lights hanging so low in their homes, it would look pretty cool pulled more taut across the ceiling.
This faceted globe glitters like an icy jewel, whether placed on a stand like a table lamp or held in the hands of its designer, Tokujin Yoshioka. Created for the Italian furniture brand Kartell, “Planet” diffuses luminosity randomly through a lens effect as the light passes through various thicknesses of transparent resin.