Let there be light

Elizabeth Mathew | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 16, 2016
Italian aura: Coloured glass make this Venetian chandelier made of Muranio glass stand out

Italian aura: Coloured glass make this Venetian chandelier made of Muranio glass stand out   -  Shutterstock

Cynosure If decor was a language, a chandelier would certainly be poetry

Cynosure If decor was a language, a chandelier would certainly be poetry   -  Shutterstock

Inspiration: Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul features classic chandeliers like this one

Inspiration: Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul features classic chandeliers like this one   -  Shutterstock

Inspiration: Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul features classic chandeliers like this one

Inspiration: Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul features classic chandeliers like this one   -  Shutterstock

Sparkle: Modern chandeliers from Lasvit

Sparkle: Modern chandeliers from Lasvit

Looking to make a statement with your home décor? A chandelier might be what you need

For an object that is considered the epitome of lighting décor, the chandelier didn’t have a very glamorous beginning. Back in the 15th century, when resources were scarce, a chandelier was simply a cross made of two wooden beams with candles fixed onto it. These were lit and then hoisted up by a rope to illuminate a room, and that too only on special occasions. From this humble start, chandeliers soon acquired glass and crystal, metal and gilded wood, and became more than a means to light up a large room – it became the status symbol and object of desire that we know it to be today.


If you have your heart set on a chandelier, there are certain things to keep in mind. Your eyes will want to pick the shiniest and brightest piece, but there are certain considerations that will affect how the piece will look in your house. Firstly, when it comes to chandeliers, bigger may be better but then your room has to be able to accommodate it as well. “You have to keep in mind the architectural and design language of your room or residence and the atmosphere you want to create there,” explains Maxim Velcovsky, art director at Lasvit, a Czech design lighting brand launched in 2007.

If you believe in breaking rules, and want a large chandelier in a smaller room, just make sure the fixture is a delicate and airy one, so that it balances out the space it occupies. A simple fixture with fewer crystals that has a large width may work better than a classic Venetian glass chandelier in a smaller space. The key here is to focus on how the chandelier feels and not just how it looks. Since chandeliers take up a lot of visual space, it is important to keep the other décor elements in the room to a minimum, just enough to complement it. Alexis de Ducla from Matheiu Lustrerie Atelier, however, believes that when it comes to chandeliers, the functional light is only incidental. “You should buy a chandelier as you would a work of art or jewellery: because you like it, not because it is modern or classical or goes with the décor,” he says, adding that on the practical side, ceiling heights and structural elements should also be taken into account.

Of course, breaking rules is the norm when it comes to creating a unique space. Raseel Gujral, interior designer and owner of Casa Paradox, mentions a recent project where a beautiful glass-cut chandelier was installed over the bath tub. “The use of an unexpected element, such as a chandelier, brought in the feel of a glamorous restroom,” says Gujral. “Additionally, adorning the space with an elegantly matched seating that invites lounging transformed the bath space, giving it a relaxing spa-like ambience.”

Since dining rooms are the usual favourite spot to show off a chandelier, hanging height is an essential factor – you don’t want your guests to be forced to admire the chandelier by having it block their view of the other guests! If a large crystal piece that’s anywhere between 24 to 48 inches wide and hangs at about 30 inches, then the large room would need a ceiling that’s about 10 feet high to fully do justice to it. On the smaller side, if the chandelier is below 24 inches in width, a ceiling eight feet high will suffice.

Perfect pick

Now that the basics are set, let your aesthetic side take over. There are many kinds of chandeliers out there, each one more visually arresting than the next, but taking into account the décor of your house, or the room at the very least, is important to make sure that the light fixture remains a conversation starter and not an eyesore.

Types of chandeliers are based on the material used such as crystal, glass or metal, as well as the decorative styles used – tiered, beaded, shaded, and more. Before the advent of electricity, chandeliers were used to light up a space, and hence it made sense to use crystals since they magnified the light source (usually a candle) and glass because of its decorative effect. These days, since a chandelier is no longer used as a source of light, but more as the focal point in décor, or simply to add a dramatic element, the options are no longer limited to functionality. Less about illumination, and more about decoration, chandeliers have become a way to add elegance to a space.

While minimalism and less-is-more philosophies in design are gaining favour, there is still something to be said for the classic chandelier’s sparkle. The chandelier is still relevant, insists Velcovsky. “However, today we talk more about minimalistic opulence, which is most relevant for neo-classical chandeliers that have a modern approach,” he elaborates.

On the same lines, Alexis adds that vintage styles can work in contemporary set ups as well. “A lot of international designers love to mix in a few vintage pieces – furniture and lighting – to work as statement pieces in ultra modern settings,” he explains. At Mathieu Lustrerie Atelier, the French lighting brand whose works hang in hallowed locations like the Chateau de Versailles and the Paris Opera, modern technology is used to recreate the vintage feel of chandeliers lit by real candles using silicone candles. “They look just like wax candles and Prisms, pendants and patinas refract the flame light to create a specific atmosphere, which cannot be restored by traditional bulbs,” he explains.

Going the classic way would mean opting for traditional styles like the Bohemian style, which used crystal prisms and facets or the Venetian style made from handblown glass from Murano that features more curved and coloured glass and draws inspiration from flora and fauna for shapes. Barovier & Toso, one of the oldest Venetian brands making decorative lighting in Murano glass is a name to lust after, as is Baccarat, the 250-year-old brand from France, considered the last word in chandeliers. There are more names that light up the holy grail of chandeliers across the world: Lalique, that epitome of French luxury, Saint Louis, a favourite with royalty and Waterford, carrying forward an Irish legacy of crystal making, are just a few from across the globe.

Published on March 16, 2016
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