Detective Note

No.63 – Thought I Might Design a Chandelier



As an architectural lighting designer, I have always thought this profession was not about the form or shape of lighting fixtures, but have argued that lighting design is about the relationship between lighting and people. Japanese lighting design is still relatively new and I am torn between hope and despair for the profession as most conversations revolve around whether a fixture looks cool or not. I always thought there are more important aspects to discuss.

But as of late, I`ve come to realize and maybe most people would tend to agree with me, that lighting design isn’t just about the amount of light or shape of a fixture. But at the same time, we, as lighting designers, have to realize that we are not in the business of distributing downlights and spotlights everywhere. And so a few years back, I thought I might design a Mende-style chandelier. Of course I did not want to just reproduce a copy of a glittery European chandelier or redesign a florescent light pendant for Japanese residential use, but through the dynamic use of material, produce a delicate, but one-of-a-kind architectural chandelier, or so I thought.

Unfortunately, in this world things don’t always go as you would have planned and Swarowsky, a well-established crystal chandelier manufacture, unveiled a new chandelier, very close to the design I had envisioned. It happened at the Euroluce in Milan this last spring. Have a look at the top-secret photos I snapped at the exhibition. What do you think? Looks pretty good, huh?! This new crystal glass curtain design has brought back to life an icon of the past. Makes me want to be the silhouette model in front of this great design! There were about 20 or so architects and designers showcasing their designs at this particular exhibition. Not all the exhibits were bad, but each kept us think and ideas kept coming, as we redesigned most of the fixtures on display. I think we have reached a time when chandeliers have also become a respectable tool in the profession of architectural lighting design.