By Brad Kleinberg
A philosopher once wrote that if you are not constantly amazed by everything around you every day, then you are obviously not paying attention. The same thing can be said for those of us in the business of designing chandeliers. At Crystorama, we find inspiration almost everywhere we look.
I am fortunate to live in New York City, which is one of the most inspiring environments imaginable. We have it all – from gleaming shop windows on Fifth Avenue to the galleries of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). New York is the heart of the fashion industry, which in turn is the leader in consumer tastes for color, design, and texture. In addition, there are plenty of out-of-the-way antique stores and flea markets in the New York metro area. We find inspiration in the incredible diversity of cultures and people who populate all of the five boroughs.
You don’t have to live near Manhattan, however, to be inspired on a regular basis. Every city, village, and hamlet in the world is full of creativity, which is one of the reasons I love to travel. From architecture to art and from the natural environment to cultural diversity, there are discoveries everywhere that can be folded into all types of innovative design – including lighting.
When approaching the creation of a chandelier, a designer must balance the functional with the artistic. Will this chandelier provide sufficient illumination for its intended use? How can we make it as beautiful and contextual as possible?
I find that jewelry is one of the strongest design influences for crystal chandeliers as the crystals emulate the precious stones you find in necklaces, rings, and bracelets. Jewelry is also closely aligned with women’s fashion, which can lead to the graceful draping and sensual shapes you see in today’s chandeliers. Furthermore, the fashion industry is the first place to look for leading indicators of changing consumer tastes in colors and materials.
Another area I keep an eye on is art, particularly sculpture. Chandeliers can be influenced by the great works on display at MoMA and other national, regional, and local museums. In my mind, this experience translates well into crafting lighting that becomes as much art as illumination.
Naturally, the influence of architecture is essential to the lighting designer’s craft. Art Deco, Craftsman styles, and modern glass and steel all provide fertile territory for lighting designs. Chandeliers always exist in context, and borrowing aesthetics from building design assures a symbiotic relationship. It is from architecture and construction that we gain insights into the innovative uses of materials and how these elements can be uniquely combined for a distinctive look.
Lighting never exists in a vacuum, which is why it is essential that designers stay attuned to different aspects of the culture. The emotional response created by the color, shape, and style of a shoe, a dress, a sculpture, or a fine piece of jewelry can also be translated into a well-crafted chandelier.
Understanding the design inspirations behind the lighting fixtures is important to retailers because it is design that elevates chandeliers from functional commodities to a higher level.
As lighting designers and manufacturers, we take an essential of life – lighting – and give it an organic quality that enriches the environment on every level.
When consumers purchase these beautiful chandeliers, they are bringing something into the personal environment where they share good times with friends and family. These designs become a statement about the owner as well as serve as a heritage piece for future generations.
Look around you. Inspiration is everywhere to enrich your everyday experiences and sustain your mission of bringing products to market that consumers will demand today and cherish tomorrow.
Brad Kleinberg is president of Crystorama, a leading lighting manufacturing and marketing company based in New York.