Bring the majesty of Mother Nature into your home — and let there be light. Compared to lights made from synthetic materials such as plastic, those made from natural materials usually require less water and energy to produce, and are therefore better for the environment.
Often, the components used to make them are also more easily renewed. Not only are these lighting options more sustainable, they also add interesting textures, warmth and earthy charm to the spaces they illuminate. Whether you’re going for breezy seaside chic or sophisticated minimalism, lights made from natural materials can be used to complement and enhance many design concepts. Look to our list of 10 nature-inspired finds.
Handcrafted from solid oak timber, the Oak Pendant by Melbourne-based designer Ross Gardam showcases the stunning grains and colour gradation of high-quality wood. Accompanied by dimmable 11-watt LED bulbs, a simple black cloth cable and a shadow-line canopy for hanging, the Oak Pendant’s smooth, contemporary form is complemented by an intersecting hole that accentuates the body of light emanating from within.
Inspired by the stone spice grinder, Tom Dixon’s Stone Table Light is carved from white Morwad marble and mounted on top of a tube with a “floating” brass tipped ball-shaped bulb at the top. A classy and elegant choice for a bedside or dresser, the milled marble is cut as thin as possible to give the lamp an almost translucent quality, illuminating the natural veins of the stone.
Xtra, 6 Raffles Boulevard, #02-240, Marina Square, Tel: 6336 4664
Addressing the problem of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle waste and helping socioeconomically disadvantaged rural ethnic groups in South America, Spanish designer Alvaro Catalán de Ocón’s PET lamps combine recycled plastic bottles with the weaving traditions and materials of the Guambianos, Eperara-Siapidara and Mapuche people in Colombia and Chile to create unique, durable and environmentally-friendly pendant PET Lamps. Handcrafted using wicker, natural fibres from the Paja Tetera palm tree, wool or cotton, every lamp is different, and each has its own story to tell.
Vito Selma’s Twist pendant lamp looks like an optical illusion. Crafted from gmelina wood, Twist consists of 15 overlapping wooden frames that can be configured in a variety of ways for a two-dimensional or three-dimensional appearance. Twist is available in three shapes (square, trapezoid and polygon) and can be easily packaged for delivery.
Forest to Sea
Filipino home furnishings and accessories brand Catalina has an eclectic selection of woven lamps. Using weaves made from wooden vines found in the forests of Cebu, designer Marjol Manato designed Winterwhite—a chandelier created to look like a majestic giant sea coral. “The vines are made into wooden tube beads, and each flowerette is handmade over a period of four days,” says Manato.
Drum of Light
Inspired by Afro-Cuban bongo drums, Vito Selma’s elongated Bongo floor lights are perhaps what sound waves from drums might look like when they throb upwards from the source of impact. Made with light abaca rope, wrought iron and electrical fittings, the soft flush of the Bongo is perfect for enlivening unused corners with a touch of tribal chic.
Versatile and eco-friendly bamboo plywood is what New Zealand designer David Trubridge uses for his lampshades. Forms occurring in nature such as coral, flax, snowflake, sea urchin and the nikau palm tree inform his work. Trubridge offers more than 20 nature-inspired designs that can be mixed and matched to suit any room.
Light + Form Concepts, #01-02, 341 Balestier Road, Tel: 6898 2555
Control the direction of your light source with the futuristic Orbit Spot, a ground-up spotlight made of transparent or black marble. Designed by Paris-based A+A Cooren Design Studio, these ethereal lamps have a changeable centre of gravity, so you can position them at vertical or more oblique angles for soft yet effective illumination.
The humble coconut transforms into a magical nightlight, offering the shadowplay effect of a zoetrope. Using jewellers’ tools, designers at Skura Design drilled and carved intricate patterns from the hard shell of the coconut. When the light shines from within the hollow of the nut at night, whimsical and wonderful patterns are reflected onto the walls and ceiling.
Californian designer and wood craftsman Paul Foeckler’s Split Grain light sculptures meld contemporary aesthetics with the raw beauty of unvarnished wood. “The project began with me taking notice of an ordinary piece of firewood and thinking it too beautiful to burn. The exterior texture and shape had such organic appeal that I started experimenting. I found that different splitting techniques followed by sawing the form into slices enhanced the cross sections and revealed even more incredible formations and imperceptible grain patterns,” says Foeckler, whose works have an organic, minimalist appeal.
This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes April-May 2017.