While it’s true that decorative lighting pieces often command multi-thousand Euro price tags, you don’t always have to spend absurd dollar for good design. In fact, there are a number of decorative lighting solutions out there on the market which offer considerable design exclusivity for the home on an affordable budget.
This article is directed towards the casual design consumer. As a result, the following selection is largely comprised of ‘plug in and play’ luminaires which don’t require any special installation. Here’s a selection of a few of our favourites in no particular order of preference.
1. Flos MAYDAY
For a little under €100, these functional little lamps represent exceptional value for money considering the all star collaboration between Italian design giant Flos and the ever inventive Konstantin Grcic.
Grcic designed the MAYDAY lamp to be a tool, harbouring a practical 5 metre long cable complete with large hook on the end of the handle to install the lamp wherever needed.
Its smooth polypropylen plastic housing gives off a warm, diffused light and is strong enough to absorbe any bashing. Perhaps the beauty of MAYDAY is that it has not been designed for anywhere specifically. Grcic conceived it as somewhat of an emergency lighting solution:
“It rather comes in handy in all sorts of expected/unexpected situations. I have one next to my bed for late night reading. Another one sits by the front door of my apartment … just in case.”
Ideal for: situations where ’emergency’ lighting is called for Price: €90-100
A little more expensive are the MUFFINS from Czech design specialist Brokis, which start at around €500. Don’t let that price tag put you off, for the MUFFINS are well on their way to becoming timeless design pieces thanks to their simple yet unique form from designer Lucie Koldova and Dan Yeffet.
Another huge selling point offered by MUFFINS is that they represent some of the best craftsmanship in the business – effectively the product of the centuries old Czech glass blowing tradition.
The sublimity of the design lies in the masterful combination of delicately contoured glass and solid wood. The lights, featuring a billowing glass shade set in a handcrafted wooden base together with a naked filament bulb, offer multiple shape and size variants as well as a broad palette of glass colours and woods.
Ideal for: Lounge ambience Price: starting from around €500
Marketed as the 21st century candle, SALT&PEPPER has been certainly making waves in the decorative lighting field since being introduced by the German design studio a couple of years ago.
Practically, the light combines its archetypal conical form with advanced cableless design, and provides 450 Lumens of output and up to 8-100 hours of battery life. The lamp’s head is touch-sensitive, allowing for effortless dimming adjustment through a 360° warm glow.
The haptics of the piece are, quite simply, immensely satisfying. The brushed metal body feels exceptional in its quality, and the light output is beautiful. Yes, the price is a little on the steep side (almost €400) for such a small piece, but you are getting a product with a quality finish and feel.
Marset are probably best known for their colourful dipping lights. Although they were admittedly visually interesting upon launch, the Bicoca – with its wireless rechargeable design and funky miniature lamp dimensions – is arguably a more realistic prospect for creating ambience within the home, and as such earns an inclusion on our list here.
Designed by Christophe Mathieu in 2017, Bicoca sports a polycarbonate body and a tilt-able shade to direct the light. There’s a lot to like about this product, such as the wide range of body colours catering to all tastes.
At an affordable price point of under 200 Euros, Bicoca represents excellent value. Personally, however, we feel that a metal-bodied version would provide more of a premium feel. I’m sure that most buyers would also be willing to pay a little extra for that too.
We remember being utterly blown away by Haberdashery’s Dawn to Dusk in an article on Dezeen a couple of years ago. Since launching their award winning luminaire in 2018, the London-based studio has released a string of other interesting products, but it’s this light in particular which is particularly interesting for the home environment.
Dawn to Dusk evokes the rising and setting sun and the transition from deep, rich reds and orange, into peach hues then through to the white light of midday.
Available as table and floor standing lamps, the diffused circular light source is manually moved up and down to create a warm ambience, or a functional 2700K task light that can be faced into a room or cast up a wall.
Dawn to Dusk provides an iconic design statement through its minimal aesthetic and is an exploration of new ways to interact with light. Uncluttered by cables and free of traditional on/off switches, Dawn to Dusk gives you the opportunity to lift the sun from below the horizon and place it in the sky.
Ideal for: Lounge ambience, instagram stories Price: From €500
The SYNTAX S14 socket system from Berlin-based creative design studio RLON joins the ranks here as a bit of a curveball. While this isn’t necessarily a luminaire as such, the unique s14 socket system is perhaps one of the most potentially disruptive lighting solutions on the market right now. It allows anyone to create and execute their own lighting arrangements with linestra Edison style linear bulbs.
Until recently, the usage of the s14 bulb was limited to wall or ceiling mounting. SYNTAX’s unique design essentialy liberates the s14 bulb from traditional mounting restraints whilst offering a sleek, elegant and tasteful aesthetic – far removed from the traditional design of s14 sockets.
Be it suspended from a cable, fixed to a threaded pipe or attached to a standard lamp component, SYNTAX enables a whole host of possibilities, especially for the home. Practically, this means that, for less than €50 (including light fixture), you can create your own totally unique decorative lighting experience.
Ideal for: creating your own lighting installations Price: SYNTAX s14 socket €12. Bulb not included.