Interior design: the 21st-century chandelier reaching icon status
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Interior design: the 21st-century chandelier reaching icon status

Every so often, there's a game-changer in a certain facet of interior design. It creates its own heat and desirability above the hundreds of others in its genre, regardless of the price tag or the length of the waiting list. American lighting designer Lindsey Adelman is in this phase of her career. I interviewed Adelman in her New York studio a couple of years ago and immediately understood her appeal. Her free-spirited, artistic approach to life and business places creativity (for both herself and her staff) at the top of the list. This results in all sorts of sideline projects, where full-scale models are made and new objects – from jewellery to concrete tiles – are explored. But it's the lighting for which she is famous.

Adelman's lights (pictured is her iconic $US27,000 Branching Bubble chandelier, photographed in her Brooklyn home) are as much about sculptural form as they are about illumination. Much of their appeal is in their rhythm and freedom on one hand, and structure and precision on the other. Since that interview in 2015, I have followed her career, watching her balance bespoke commissions with exhibitions at Design Miami and Milan's prestigious Nilufar Gallery while also selling her collection. The Branching Bubble pieces, as well as the energetically named light clusters Boom Boom Burst and Cherry Bomb, are in high demand for residential and commercial interiors across the globe.

STYLING TIP: The Branching Bubble light works equally in a traditional home with cornice detail, a spare, architectural concrete interior or a rustic timber one. Production and styling: Helle Walsted.

STYLING TIP: The Branching Bubble light works equally in a traditional home with cornice detail, a spare, architectural concrete interior or a rustic timber one. Production and styling: Helle Walsted.

Photo: wichmann + bendtsen Photography

In Australia, Hamish Guthrie of Melbourne practice Hecker Guthrie has worked with the brand for a number of years, specifying, for example, a Branching Bubble for a Victorian terrace in South Yarra. "We fell in love with how it played the role of a traditional chandelier, but in a modern way," says Guthrie. "It helps bridge the aesthetic between glamour/ sophistication and organic/informal, allowing flexibility for contemporary living." More recently, in a commercial setting in the SkyCity casino in Adelaide, Guthrie installed a large-scale Cherry Bomb, which he describes as a "jewel" in the space.

Sydney interior designer Sarah Johnson of Lifesize Studios is also a long-term admirer of Adelman. "She takes materials such as brass and glass, which are commonly used in the manufacture of lights, and manipulates them in such a way as to simultaneously engage and provoke," says Johnson. "There is an element of tension or unsettled elegance in many of the designs in the range and they are all exquisitely resolved."

She admits the price of the light – well over $30,000 including the change of currency, shipping costs and taxes – induced a sharp intake of breath. "Thankfully, the client had her heart set on it as much as we did, so it became a question of when rather than if."

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