Light up a show-stopper

Light up a show-stopper

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Chandeliers have changed over time. The designs are now compatible with smaller homes and still allow the same grandeur, says Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

There is something about a chandelier that can take your breath away no matter how many times a day you see it. The intricate design, the delicate bulbs and the sense of majesty that they invariably exude, elevate the interiors of your home in the eyes of all.
Chandeliers continue to remain relevant even today despite the fact that not every home has those sky-high ceilings to accommodate them.

“The preference for ‘modern chandelier’ is most seen with lesser components in the design, modulated to suit apartment living rooms, instead of the double-height bungalows for which they were originally envisioned for,” says Gita Ramanan, CEO of a Bangalore-based architecture firm.

So what is the modern chandelier all about? Let’s admit it – the floor space that we could boast of in our grandmother’s homes back in those days is hardly something we can hope for today. With the shrinking size of homes compared to yesteryears, chandeliers too have changed along the way.

Today, they are being created for smaller homes and rooms, and are designed such that they remain the focal point of where they are placed – living room, dining room or even the bathroom. Crystal chandeliers have taken a backseat as such, but the overall concept is being recreated in glass as well as steel and paper.

The definition of a chandelier is: ‘A branched, decorative lighting fixture that holds a number of bulbs or candles and is suspended from a ceiling.’ But this has changed today.

It does not always have to be branched in the traditional idea of successive steps, either ascending or descending in terms of size and shape, as nowadays the same idea is conveyed through design and form.

“The shape created today alludes to the grandness of the chandelier when they used to be of a massive size, going up to a 100 separate parts per piece,” says Gita. In fact, today, designers will feature at least three to five such pieces that act as focal points of individual rooms, she adds. A cursory look at chandeliers in the market will show that they are now available in a range of shapes and materials as well as finishes, allowing for a minimum of two pieces in a three-bedroom home. The preference today, Gita asserts, is for pieces that are cheaper in terms of maintenance and not really in price.

Where will your chandelier go? The first place for a chandelier is of course your living room and then the dining room. A significant amount of time is spent here with the family and when you are entertaining. They work best if you have rooms that are L-shaped. In such cases, similar pieces can be used as focal elements in both rooms. Gita also suggests that the shape and its derivative piece can also be used as a floor lamp in one corner of the room. She goes on to say that they also can be used in master bedrooms to add the requisite drama and glamour if so desired by the home owner. Chandeliers are definitely favoured in villa projects considering the larger variety of them being available to choose from. In a villa, they can be used to dramatise your entrances, living and dining rooms, family rooms, and master bedrooms. In fact, Gita says, they can “also be used to great effect if there are any double-height spaces that connect the different floors of the building.”

Though price is a primary concern when it comes to choosing a chandelier, you can take heart in the fact that there is now a chandelier to suit every kind of budget. Here are some pointers from Gita: Understanding the proportions of the room is critical; size does matter. There has to be a co-relation between the piece you select and the space you select it for. Understand the proportion of the space.

Also, select the design of the piece based on the concept of the room. It normally should either match the concept or be a contrast to it. For example, a room that is ultra-glamorous in design can be outfitted with an extravagant piece of glass and crystal and stainless steel as the crown in the jewel. Conversely, with a simpler, more ‘homey’ concept for a room or an industrial-minimalist theme for the room, the same extravagant piece may be selected to work as a contrast and thereby allow the piece to stand out in full glory.

The materials of the piece should also be thought of. You should either go for a material that is already present in the space, thereby presenting one homogeneous design or go for a contrast and play materials against each other. For example, the simplicity of stainless steel in a room of rich fabrics and upholstery, the wonder of bevelled glass and bronze detailing in a minimalist room of exposed brick or concrete cladding, the evocative paper chandeliers against a stone cladded wall, a ceramic confectionary piece in a minimalist white design, the examples are many.

You have to thank innovative modern design and technology for ensuring that the chandeliers of today are not so heavy on maintenance that they scare you off them totally. They still do come in elaborate set-ups of at least 100 parts that make up the whole, but the materials used are much easier to maintain – some of them being paper, single-piece chandeliers of glass, stainless steel, and glass. Some are even of metals such as copper, bronze and ceramic, she says.

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