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May 14, 2019 Seeing Things In a New Light: Vintage + Artisanal Lighting

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May 14, 2019 Seeing Things In a New Light: Vintage + Artisanal Lighting

Ask most interiors experts to share their number one trade secret and invariably “Get your lighting right!” comes high on the list. Lighting makes a significant difference to any home and right now vintage and artisanal lighting are trending, with many people building houses from scratch or upgrading their current lighting to reflect more individual tastes. Whether a home is expansive or compact, heritage or modern, this creative and unique lighting can be used to suit any space.

As home design experts in NSW, Felton Constructions has a privileged view of how statement lighting is currently being styled, so read on for our tips and insights…

Defining vintage and artisanal

According to online vintage and antiques marketplace Ruby Lane, the word vintage is used to describe an item that “exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to [a] specific era[2].” When it comes to lighting, it can also mean a piece of a particular decade or time period (i.e. “vintage 1920s”).

On the other hand, the dictionary definition of artisanal (in this case Merriam-Webster from the US) defines it as relating to a product created in “limited quantities by traditional methods[3].” So while the term vintage is to do with age and time period, the word artisanal refers primarily to the item’s method of creation, therefore items can be either vintage or artisanal, or both (in which case, it would hold the highest value).

Why vintage and artisanal lighting?

Vintage and artisanal lighting are usually more expensive and difficult to procure, so, are they really worth the investment? Well, according to style commentators, the answer lies in that elusive search for originality and authenticity. As we continue to see entire suburbs spring up seemingly overnight – full of homogenous housing estates built by large commercial builders – it is getting increasingly difficult to tell houses apart from one another. Both artisanal and vintage lighting are rare by nature. Whether or not they began as limited editions, the likelihood of a genuine vintage light fixture appearing in several living rooms in the one suburb is extremely slim. This kind of special lighting gives homes a unique charm and allows for true expression of personality and specific taste.

Vintage and artisanal lighting is also often in line with a sustainable lifestyle. With vintage lighting, no new materials are being used, and no waste is being created from throwing the old item out. Chris Roberts and Brigid Elmy, founders of established flea market, The Leslieville Flea, reflect the current shift in demand towards “pre-loved” objects. “It’s becoming irresponsible to keep constantly consuming “fast fashion/design” products so purchasing good quality, made to last or vintage items makes sense.” And of course, when you buy from artisanal makers, you are able to pick a lighting fixture that you know has been produced in an ethical way.

Types of artisanal and vintage lights

There is a dazzling array of lights to choose from when decorating your home, including:

  • Pendant light
  • Chandelier
  • Festoon lights
  • Outdoor light
  • Flush mount light
  • Wall light
  • Linear lighting
  • Table lamp
  • Spotlight
  • Marquee light
  • Track lighting
  • Light boxes
  • Floor lamp
  • Downlight
  • Multi light pendant

Any of these light styles are available in artisanal or vintage styles.

How to shop for eye-catching lighting?

When shopping for vintage or artisanal lighting, the first thing to be aware of is wording. If the word ‘style’ is tacked on to the end of the words ‘artisan’ or ‘vintage’, then the item is likely mass produced to look like the kind of light we’re discussing, but is actually an imitation. True artisanal and vintage lighting will usually have easily accessible information about the materials as well as year and method of production.

Shopping online can provide access to the widest range of products to find exactly the right item. For those who can’t find what they’re looking for, consider commissioning an artist to create a unique custom lighting fixture that will suit a specific space.

Ways to style vintage and artisanal lighting

If you have an older house then vintage lighting will more naturally fit the rest of the architecture and decor. But what has become increasingly popular recently is for modern spaces to be adorned with stunning vintage statement lights. One fixture can transform a contemporary room into a unique space that creates a “visual conversation” where two style idioms meet unexpectedly.

Artisanal lighting is so diverse that it can fit into any space, and in terms of what looks ‘right’ it can often be a matter of serendipity and intuition. An unexpected piece can certainly create visual flair and drama; but if you’re unsure about your choice, consult an interior designer or even do a straw poll of your friends. If you’re looking for a safer option, as a rule of thumb, for a light fixture to blend seamlessly into its surroundings, common elements are necessary, such as shape, colour, texture, pattern or material. Also bear in mind that if you have a number of different light sources in a room, keep statement lighting to just one or two key locations to avoid visually over-burdening your space.

Finally a shout-out to anyone venturing down the vintage and artisanal lighting path. Your design moxie will be rewarded! Choosing to install unique light fixtures into homes in Sydney is a great way to create a bold, unique living space reflective of its owner.