22 September 2012
The Glorious Chandelier has been part of our interiors since Georgian times. Before then,the chandelier was just a practical way of holding candles so that their light could give some kind of luminosity to the room.
But even those early ‘candle-liers’ were cartwheel shapes hung from the centre of the ceilings, just as they are today. Then, as now, the chandelier was mimicking the sun. After all, along with food and oxygen, it is probably one of the most important things in our lives! The sun is our warmth and our light. I want to share some of my favourite chandeliers with you…..and of course the best are the ones which stay closely linked to that giant orb in the sky.
Where better to start than the magnificent chandelier in the banqueting hall in Brighton Pavilion. George IV wasn’t a shy, retiring king and he wanted a room to impress his guests. And impress it certainly does!. The chandelier takes pride of place over the enormous table yet it’s scaled in such a way that it doesn’t appear to be ostentatious.
Move into the music room in the pavilion and you get more chandeliers, this time delightful dishes hung around the perimeter of a domed ceiling. Sunbeams perhaps??
These contemporary chandeliers are also reminiscent of sunbeams or bursts of sunlight, still contained in the circular shape. They light up a large public space. Aren’t they joyful?
And talking about joyful……this amazing Murano glass chandelier (hand-made of course) which has used the idea of sunflowers (what else) in a giant burst of happiness. Who wouldn’t smile looking up at this creation, even if it’s not to your taste.
Another Murano creation takes on the same sunburst design. Those individually-worked glass drops make up a bigger design that seems to say “look at me – I’m something special”, which in my opinion is what a chandelier should say.
A smaller version of the Murano is this contemporary twisted tube chandelier. Those glass twists are surely the sunrays casting out their light? A little too small I think to make a big impact but nevertheless interesting and engaging.
Here we have a large, orb-like contemporary chandelier made up of seperate metal parts, giving it a highly relective quality . What I love is that it has been hung off-centre in the room and yet because the building has open views over the landscape it appears as if it’s hanging in the sky (sun-like) and reflecting the light around.
And another contemporary chandelier which uses the idea of’ the orb’ but this time repeated in an arrangement. This one looks very organic to me – think frogspawn or cell structure – ?? The softness of the shapes make it appear to be quite vulnerable-looking. I like it for it’s globular audacity.
Speaking of audaciousness – look at this fandabadozee chandelier in the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This truly is the sun coming right out of the sky and touching you on the head. The coloured drops on the very tip are there as a reminder that the sunlight is a collection of coloured rays influencing the way we see the things around us. Light and colour= colour and light.
Here too, the chandeliers are very imposing and completely dominate the space. But sitting in this restaurant, looking up at this wonderful array, wouldn’t you feel special as you’re bathed in the twinkling lights? There is a suggestion of moonbeams here rather than sunbeams but it’s still very atmospheric.
Finally, my absolute favourite is this hand-made designer chandelier by Rocco Borghese. It’s created in fine silver-plated jewellery chain and laced with Egyptian crystal. It ticks all the boxes – elegant yet imposing, fine yet magnificent in scale and proportion. And, of course, there is that connection with the sun.