The Finest Lighting: artists -- #1 Niamh Barry

Niamh Barry chandelier fouette II shoot july 2011 016rev Occasionally, you may have a client who deserves, will appreciate -- and will wait and pay for -- the very finest. This is one of a series of profiles of the Very Finest lighting makers.

Dublin-based Niamh Barry is presenting new work this week at Design Miami/Basel, in collaboration with New York's Todd Merrill gallery. This is Fouetté II, one of the works being included (that also featured in the Lux Craft lighting pavilion, part of the Origin Craft Fair at last year's London Design week).

It is a sculpture, but also a light -- a chandelier. There are light sources running continuously behind the opalized sides:

Niamh Barry Fouette II detail

The result is not just beautiful, but also technically clever -- power has to be transferred invisibly from link to link.

Fouetté II is therefore a great example of why Niamh is so special. It exemplifies Ovid's ars est celare artem. True art conceals the skills (in this case, engineering, electronic, mechanical) that have to be applied if it is to exist.

Other works in this series (which is, by the way, ideally suited to stair wells -- just ask Candy and Candy!) have a different character. Whereas the Fouetté evokes the feminine turns of a ballet dancer, this one is quite different -- jagged, aggressive (masculine?):

Niamh Barry chain light set

Niamh says of her work that "...it blurs the line between design and sculture, whilst always heavily imbued with the craft-based skills honed during a degree in ceramics." She has also worked as an art director and designer in the Irish film industry. Pieces created during the last 20 years feature in numerous international private collections in London, Moscow, New York and Dublin.

Besides her chandeliers, she's also designing table lights:

Niamh Barry table light 1

and wall lights:

Niamh Barry wall light 1

And not just lights! Here is a super desk that is also at Design Miami Basel:

Niamh Barry desk

Niamh is an artist: she will create something that is not just site-specific but also client-specific. In other words, if it is a residence, she will get to know not just the space into which her art work will go, and how it is used, but also the clients. By getting to know them, the right concept for them will emerge. I know, because I've seen it happen, that the client will love the experience. Not only are they pleased to be patrons, and to have something created specifically for and about them, but Niamh is as charming as she is competent. As a specifier, you can rely on her not just to create a rapport with the client, but then to create the light extremely efficiently. It will arrive on time, on budget, it will work and it will be beautifully finished. To be one of our Very Finest, these are essential criteria -- it is not enough just to be able to draw a pretty light....

Niamh Barry chandelier

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