Coup de Foudre hand made porcelain lighting

Coup de Foudre CFSWD ceramic pendant light One day, the Belgian lighting expert, Tom Claeys of Claeys Verlichting, attended an exhibition and was excited by the work of a ceramic artist that he saw there. He felt that an artist who could make such pieces would also make stunning lights. So he and Goedel Vermandere, with her partner Jan Arickx, pooled their relevant skills and the result is the Belgian lighting company, Coup de Foudre.

Their showrooms/workshop/home is a charming town house in Kortrijk -- home of the excellent biennial Interieur trade fair, of course, but also very Eurostar-friendly for anyone based in London, being just half an hour from Lille International.

There lighting is primarily made out of porcelain -- a wonderful material for this purpose because it adds such warmth. Though hard when it has set, the way the shapes are hand-formed results in a softness, a gentleness -- a cosiness.

And cosiness will become the most important attribute of any light used in domestic surroundings. Why? Because most of the time that we spend indoors is whilst it is dark and, in the winter, cold. Politicians are outlawing incandescent lamps, and many dwellings are now being built with no fireplace (imagine!) so, unless we specify for cosiness, people will live in dank, grey fluorescent light and everybody will be miserable. So cosiness matters! And so we need to be able to specify the porcelain lights of Coup de Foudre!! Anyway...

...this is like a fire when you first come across it...

Coup de Foudre CFLU075 porcelain pendant light

...and fascinating when you then see it close up...

Coup de Foudre CFLU075 porcelain pendant light

...every single piece being made separately, by hand, with the effects of light and shadow adding form and depth.

The setting (below) in which this large version of CFLU finds itself reminds us how well a natural, organic material like porcelain works with other natural materials -- the clay of the bricks, the wood of the beams, the unbleached cloth of the upholstery:

Coup de Foudre CFLUC0110 porcelain pendant light

Yes, it is usually dark when we are indoors, so lights tend to be on. But it is no good if they only look good when lit. The rectangular CFLURE looks great on...

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain rectangular pendant light on

...and it also looks great off:

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain rectangular pendant light of

The adaptability of these strong simple porcelain shapes is shown by how well this design fits into a panelled room...

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain pendant light in a panelled room

...as much as it does into a more contemporary, Asian-inspired space:

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain pendant light

We particularly like CFSWD, which you can see at the head of this post, and here:

Coup de Foudre CFSWD165 ceramic rectangular pendant lig

The top part of this rectangular pendant light is quite formal, squares of porcelain being mounted side-by-side to make a frieze. But below them -- out  of them -- hangs a dense array of fabric-like, fluttering sheets.

We also love these carpets of delicate, feminine roses, used in several of the lights in their showroom, including a wonderful small ceiling light:

Roses in porcelain lights by Coup de Fooudre

As with any artist, it means so much more if you get the chance to meet them -- and even to see them work. Well, Kortijk is very accessible. But, in the meantime, do watch the film on their web site here.

They also make wonderful jewellery, using additional materials -- bark, copper, stainless steel -- to recall the natural forms that you might see at the beach. You can see a selection here.



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Delicately modulated translucency by Daniele Gualeni in his Etica for Ilide

Ilide Etica 1 pendant light One of the most important characteristsics of any light is the difference between its appearance when it is on and when it is off. Sometimes this is ignored. At other times, the light might look equally good (though different) on or off without any extra thought having to be given to this factor.

But, like Prandina embracing shadows on the shade of Loft, Daniele Gualeni, in his Etica for Ilide, has created a particularly beautiful on/off transition.

Ilide Etica 2 pendant light

The central column is made from porcelain. In fact, there are two ultra-thin layers. During processing, coloured glazes are applied between them, where they remain trapped during firing. Only when the light is turned on is their colour revealed. Note that this means that each one will be a little different

This delicate core is protected by an elegant glass shade:

Ilide Etica 3 pendant light

Remember that Ilide is the new company formed to work with craftspeople to produce lights that make the most of the materials from which they are made. Etica is a brilliant example of this!

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Custom pieces by Art et Floritude

art et floritude Stella-cadente-applique-matou When we think of Art et Floritude, our first mental picture is of pieces like this...

art et floritude chandelier vegetal 18th century

...beautiful 18th century painted metal chandeliers with delicate porcelain flowers for elegant French interiors.

But what we should remember is that their core skill is working and painting metal, from their workshops in the Loire valley. They have proved adept at creating for interior designers a wide range of bespoke designs.

And there in no excuse in London, in particular, to forget this!

Patrick Jouin designed this for the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Dorchester:

ducasse dorchester patrick Jouin

and India Mahdavi this for the Hélène Darroze restaurant at the Connaught:

Helene Darroze connaught india mahdavi art et floritude

Sophie has recently sent us some more images of bespoke pieces -- usually large (this is a panel that is 3m by 1m, lacquered white on the outside and with gold leaf on the inside, for Jean Philippe Nuel):

art at floritude Jean Philippe Nuel 3 x 1applique

They are not always contemporary in feel -- here is a traditional piece, Ø2m H2m, at the Hotel Tiffany in Geneva:

art et floritude chandelier tiffany geneva

with its delicate porcelain flowers (that can be painted, if you prefer):

art et floritude chandelier tiffany 3

That gruesome cat? Designed by Stella Cadente for the hotel L'Original in Paris. Here's a room there, with a Poe-like crow and some rather cheerier branches (see how they continue along the ceiling), both made by Art et Floritude:

Art et Floritude Stella Cadente appliques wall lights crow



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Pride of Soldiers installation by Scabetti

Scabetti soldiers.01 When Dominic and Frances of Scabetti have talked to us about their installation at the Kromhout Barracks on the outskirts of Utrecht, it has sounded exciting. Right up their street, because it is a coherent composition made up of many bone china pieces, in this case in the shape of soldiers.

"These photographs are now the only access many will have to this remarkable work of art, as it is sited in one of the most secure places in the Netherlands; the Royal Dutch Land Forces Command Head Quarters".

Scabetti soldiers installation at Kromhout.07

The best bit is that, as you walk round it, the shape of the Lion of the Armed Forces emerges:

Scabetti soldiers installation at Kromhout.02

Scabetti have created a single, large piece that is made up of many small components. The result is much lighter, less dense and more interesting than a solid piece of similar dimensions. These particular components are not only relevant to a barracks, but interesting in themselves: one thinks of soldiers dressed in camouflage, with twigs in their hats and mud, but these ones are of the purest white porcelain:

Scabetti soldiers installation at Kromhout.04

modelled by hand

Scabetti soldiers installation at Kromhout.03

The hand in the image above gives the scale of each soldier. The person in the image below, that was taken during installation, shows the scale of the whole (which is Ø3m)!

Scabetti soldiers installation at Kromhout.05

Obviously, other porcelain pieces could be created, and the shape of the total composition could be changed, so this is very versatile and exciting concept that could be applicable to other locations.

And they look good from every angle:

Scabetti soldiers installation in Kromhout.06

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