On April 4, 2017, a 38,000 square-meter facility in the heart of Milan, Italy, opened its doors to the world for Euroluce 2017. It’s a globally renowned lighting event with over 450 individual exhibits featuring the latest in technological innovation as well as decorative and avant garde design. And, as our Merchandising team woke early–fighting jet-lag, hunger and sore muscles–and maneuvered through hundreds of displays over a five-day period, they began to notice several trends arising across many different companies and designers.
The following is a list of the most notable trends they’ve discovered. And, while some can be considered decorative, playful and, in some cases, downright strange, all have the potential to turn the lighting design world on its head in the years to come. So, take a look if you dare…
Animals, Bugs, and…Fairies?
With many European companies like Karman (Italian) and Lladro (Spanish), there seems to be a return to more natural-inspired design, whether real or fictionally-based. Take, for example, the Cubano by Karman which features a ceramic representation of a toucan with its eye replaced by a decorative filament bulb.
In the same way, Karman sculpts the visage of an owl (called TI. Vedo) out of ceramic, replacing its eyes with tungsten Edison bulbs.
Perhaps the most notable of Karman’s collections is the VA. Lentina by Matteo Ugolini. This piece demands a second, third and even fourth take to ensure that what you’ve seen accurately represents reality. And yes, let me assure you that this design does in fact feature a series of slugs that surround a central backlit sconce, as though looking to take another bite from its pronounced edges.
Lladro, a company better known for its porcelain figurines, offers a more magical take on natural design as shown in the epic Niagara Chandelier by Bodo Sperlein. This captivating fixture has more fairies than a Disney movie, featuring dozens upon dozens of porcelain pixies that individually suspend from an open rounded canopy.
Wall Sconce? No sir, this is Wall Art!
Forget what you know about wall sconces… sorry…wall art, and consider the leaps and bounds this category of lighting has taken over the last few years into fixtures that are not only functional, but also undeniably gorgeous.
Contardi, an Italian lighting and design company, raised the bar yet again this year at Euroluce, showcasing unforgettable pieces like “Stand.” It features many different cubes of varying shapes and sizes, set slightly askew from one another. They are all flat but, as if by magic, this arrangement creates an optical illusion, making the brain less certain of the depth of the wall, the distance between fixtures and how far they extend into the surrounding space. Take a look for yourself. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Inarchi, a Hungarian-based design company, also plays with the visual boundaries between two and three dimensional space in their standout piece “Ray.” In this example, a slightly folded hexagonal object floats from the ceiling or wall, and is backlit with an intense LED light to further emphasize a sense of levity. Due to its geometric, modular shape, you can create any number of decorative patterns that best complement your space.
Marble Accents, mixed metals and a whole lot of pink
Though some trends seen at Euroluce lacked the pizzazz of, say, a gang of slugs munching away at a sconce, they too shared a significant level of unexpectedness as well as impact.
The Setareh Table Lamp displayed at the FontanaArte exhibit is a perfect example, boasting a thick marble base, a brass-wired frame (as opposed to the standard black or white color), and a curved white glass shade over exposed lamping. This particular fixture marks a noticeable departure from the company’s usual output of standard contemporary lighting into the realm of esoteric and avant garde design.
The Icaro Pendant by Mariano Fortuny has also added a brass finish to its family, which greatly enhances both the sense of luxury and the brightness of the uplighting through its concentric, three-tiered display.
And…last but not least…pink! To the surprise of many, pink has become a formidable color palette in 2017, adding an alluring organic warmth to the likes of the classic Swirl Pendant from LZF, among many others.
These are but a few of the amazing trends displayed at Euroluce 2017. Animals, slugs, fairies, wall art, brass finishes, rose colors and marble accents…. It’s a mixed bag, really. But, it’s that eclectic blend of inspiration and craftsmanship that makes all of lighting and design a dynamic enterprise, constantly shaping and reshaping as though it is alive. And we are all witness to it. So, let’s just sit back and see what happens.