Windfall at Euroluce

Windfall Eden chandeliers

Yes, this year, Windfall will be showing at Euroluce. The palazzo they have used previously during the Milan Furniture Fair was beautiful, but not very accessible. Shown above are some of the gorgeous, delicate Eden chandeliers photographed there last year.

They contrast with the more masculine Jewel series:

Windfall Jewel 1 chandelier
Windfall Jewel 3 chandelier

Lula continues the theme of multiple pendants lit from above or within, that started with the Balance:

Lula crystal pendants from Windfall

We may also see the new series that Lalique asked Windfall to create for them, drawing on the work of René Lalique:

Windfall crystal designs for Lalique

And, as a final incentive to visit their stand, you’ll see the coolest of the current crop of portable cordless lights for use inside or out, Jack – a luxurious crystal lantern!

Windfall Jack cordless crystal lantern

Here are the stand details:

Windfall Euroluce 2015 announcement
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Wieshofer: the world's most iconic chandeliers HALF PRICE!!!

Wieshofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier Say the word "chandelier" and this is what people think of -- it does not matter who they are, or how knowledgeable about contemporary crystal they are.

Wieshofer WMT 1 Maria Theresia chandelierChandelier designs have evolved to maximize the impact of light on the finest cut crystal. This type is known as a Maria Theresia, after the chandeliers originally created in 1743 for the coronation of the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresia as Queen of Bohemia (which was -- still is -- after Venice, the most important world centre for glass working). It is the archetypal chandelier.

Wieshofer WMT 1 Maria Theresia chandelier detail

Many chandelier workshops still make them, more or less well. But one company is now particularly associated with the finest: Wieshofer in Vienna.

Indeed, they have recently been making little else. A review of the company's strategy has indicated that it is time for a change of direction. Therefore, until the end of 2013, all their chandeliers will be half price! Here is their announcement:

Wieshofer FinalEdition

This is an amazing, genuinely unrepeatable, opportunity to acquire the very finest chandeliers at a bargain price.

You may think them too sophisticated for many of your clients. But you might be surprised: their effect is so spectacular that their impact is visceral: the heart takes over the the brain.

Wieshofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier body

You may think that they are not "contemporary" enough. But a piece like this is not of any specific period: it should be considered as an example of excellence, of the very finest craftsmanship, as a work of art. As such, it could be put into the most minimal interior.

Some chandeliers are kitchy, some are over-the-top bling, some are unsatisfying agglomerations of glass, and some have been made cheaply in order to extract large sums of money from the gullible. Reassure your client that these Wieshofer chandeliers are none of these. They are in the very best taste, and of the very highest quality. A key reason for their review of the future is that the average age of their craftspeople is now high and they don't know how they will be able to replace them.

Nothing will appeal more strongly to someone who looking for something beautiful, timeless, truly special, so let's look at them in more detail.

They hang from a chain that is fabric covered and ends in a beautiful tassel:

Wieshofer WMT 1 Maria Theresia Chandelier top

The tassel and the fabric are available in a range of colours:

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier tassel and fabric colours

A chandelier needs quite a lot of metal to carry the weight of the crystal. Yet, look at a Wieshofer chandelier and you are hardly aware of its structure. This style has the metal in ribbon-shapes, with ribbons of crystal either side -- a crystal and metal sandwich, with only the thin edge of the ribbon of metal showing:

Wiehofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier arm, cable star

This is why the overwhelming impression they give is of crystal and light, not metal. But Wieshofer's metal is special! These are the options:

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier finishes

There are various designs of chandeliers in various sizes. For example, this one, WMT 3B is just Ø90cm H90cm:

Wieshofer WMT 3B Maria Theresia chandelierwhereas this one, WMT7, is Ø186cm H198cm:

Wieshofer WMT 7 Maria Theresia chandelier

There are also matching wall lights:

Wieshofer WMT wall light to match Maria Theresia chandeliers

Statement pieces like this are so special that we would encourage you to visit the showrooms in Vienna...

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier showroom in Vienna

...where you can see their chandeliers at eye height -- and therefore appreciate their impact and  sheer quality from close up:

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier showroom in Vienna interior

Vienna is key destination for chandelier lovers! Besides fine examples in the various palaces (many of which have been made or restored by Wieshofer), there are also the showrooms of Lobmeyr and Woka there. Kalmar are based in Vienna too, but they don't have showrooms at the moment.

Wieshofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier top

Go on -- specify something really special -- whilst they are half price! By next year, they will be gone forever....






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Sans Souci's crystal waters -- and the Power of Blue

Sans Souci Grotto crystal sculpture If you have the  right artists, the right technicians and the right equipment (all of which are still to be found in what was Bohemia, and to all of which Sans Souci have access), you can do the most amazing, fabulous things in crystal and glass -- which could not be done in any other medium.

The picture above is of Grotto, an installation designed by Hana Vitková. It is made from fused glass in various shades from clear to azure. If you want one, its appearance can be modified by using other colours and/or by different surface treatments, such as sand-blasting or painting.

Sans Souci Grotto glass and crystal installation by Hana Vitková

The glass stalagmites and stalactites can be shown as if in a cave,  surrounded by reflective metal plates that echo the reflection on the surface of the water in the cave.

In Marcela Vavrušková's Sea Wall, the effect of water is conveyed by a combination of fused and hand-blown glass components:

Sans Souci Sea Wall glass installation

Then, drops, bubbles and seaweed have been sandblasted or etched onto the back of the mirror wall:

Sans Souci Sea Wall glass wall

Hana Visková is also responsible for the ceiling-mounted Water Flower...

Sans Souci Water Flower ceiling installation

... in which glass granules are applied to the back of the glass leaves. From a distance, this gives the shimmering effect of water. The glass used is in various blue shades, from pale aquamarine to cobalt.

My theory is that people are drawn to the sea by of the Power of Blue. You'd give up your annual holiday and lots of money to go here, wouldn't you...

blue sea

...but you'd probably rather stay in the office than go here:

grey sea

Such is the Power of Blue -- a power that, thanks to glass (and the artists, technicians and equipment to which Prague-based Sans Souci give you access), you can harness for your projects, to lift the hearts of everyone who uses the spaces -- and to ensure happy clients!

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A LED Cellula from Anthologie Quartett

Cellula LED Anthologie Quartett Cellula from Anthologie Quartett, what a great idea -- a linear chandelier! Particularly since most dining tables are now (sadly) rectangular, rather than round.

But a surprising idea at the time -- it was designed by Nunzia Carbone and Tiziano Vudafieri in 1997, when lead crystal was completely out of fashion. By showing that this material was (a) beautiful and (b) compatible with avant-garde design ideas, it helped to make possible the revival of interest in it.

That revival of interest led to so many fakes being made. They are easy to distinguish because their quality is so low, notably, end caps on the structure and messy handling of the meeting of the cables and the structure -- not to mention, cheap glass and poorly finished metal. The original version is made from a beautifully crafted single piece of aluminium with the maximum attention given to all the detailing (e.g. slots for the wire carrying the crystals, to keep them exactly in place).

Anthologie Quartett Cellula chandelierThe LED version preserves this quality. The main difference is that the light source is now in a slot in the underside of the structure, as opposed to there being candle lamps in amongst the crystal drops, mounted in holders -- compare the picture above of the original with this picture of the LED version:

Anthologie Quartett Cellula LED chandelier

Faking is always wrong, but it is particularly bad when it is Anthologie Quartett's prodcuts that are being faked. No-one is more adventurous with the range of products and designs that they make available: they need the income from the hits to fund the risks. If companies like this do not take such risks, there will be no interesting designs for the fakers to fake. Parasites are not meant to kill their hosts (because that would be curtains for the parasite as well) but, just as in nature, human fakers do not always take this into account....

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Milan 2013: what is Baccarat doing?

Baccarat Campana bros galaxia and cosmo pendant light Nave and Amuleto table lights Good question. The short answer is emulating where Venini were two years ago -- even working with the same people. Above are two pendants (Galaxia and Cosmo) and two table lights (Nave and Amuleto) which were created by the Campana brothers after they were asked to come and play with some existing Baccarat designs and components. The result was the Fusion series which brings together "French Art de Vivre and Brazilian force of nature" -- cut crystal with wicker and bamboo, basically.

What do you think? Do you want to rush out and buy one?

One result that was interesting is the Fusion version of the classic Zénith chandelier...

Baccarat Zenith Fusion chandelier by FERNANDO and HUMBERTO CAMPANA which crystal arms have been replaced by bamboo arms. But how interesting is it really? Surely the different properties of the materials could have been brought together in a new design that would have been beautiful... interesting...challenging...?

Louise Campbell also had a go at a Zénith. This is her Nervous Zénith:

Louise Campbell Nervous Zenith chandelier Baccarat

It is a one-off. She went to the factory, got some wonky bits made (you can see some angled alberts hanging down at the bottom), added an extra light at the top. And a candle... But to what end?

For some reason, Baccarat do not seem to be getting the best out of the designers they are working with. This is particularly true with Philippe Starck, who asked for a black Zénith a few years ago justifiably to great acclaim, but who now seems to be just taking the piss. He has riffed again on the Zénith to create one version with antlers added (Zénith sur la Lagune) and this one, Zénith le samedi, that has a LED-lit cable running through it:

etrange zenith le samedi chandelier Baccarat Philippe Starck


One explanation is that Baccarat want to update their existing designs.

Jean Marc Gady has created a Lady Crinoline Comète by simplifying Crinoline and hanging three together (there are single and double versions also):

Lady Crinoline Comete Baccarat pendant light

which is the first of the lights we've looked at here which is likely to be bought in any numbers. But then he tries a LED version:

Baccarat Lady Crinoline Comete LED pendant light

This just isn't good enough. Maybe the LEDs have to be few centimetres above the crystal but surely  something more elegant (or ironic? or witty? or something?) to mount them in could have been devised? If not, the idea should have been parked.

Thank goodness for Philippe Nigro. He has created this pretty little Clochette that can be hung singly or in clusters:

Clochette pendant light Baccarat Philippe Nigro

and a crystal lantern (there are not many of those!) with a hook on top called Céleste, that can stand on a table or be hung up:

Baccarat lantern  Celeste by Philippe Nigro

Here are examples of both lit up:

Baccarat Philippe Nigro Clochette pendant lights and Céleste crystal lantern

Somebody at Baccarat must have realized that people might think that the Company has lost the plot, so the first exhibit, in a room all of its own , with mirrored black walls, was a magnificent 64-light Zénith, with hurricane shades added;

Zenith 64 light crystal chandelier Baccarat

Or maybe they remembered that two years after Venini were doing the same thing -- getting the Campana brothers to play with bits of their glass and exhibiting the results in a nearby palazzo -- they seem to have given up on new lighting altogether.

You are probably thinking that I've been hard on Baccarat. It's more disappointment, of being let down, really. One of the greatest names in our world of fine lighting should be showing the way forward with creativity, self-confidence and generating excitement. Instead, they are marking time -- fatal, surely, in the current economic climate.


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