People often confuse Art Deco with Art Nouveau, believing in many cases that the terms are interchangeable. If you want a truly integral design theme for your home or office interior, it's important to understand the key difference in styles. Whereas the Art Deco style was purely concerned with decorative geometry, Art Nouveau attempted to capture the elegance and beauty of nature and express this in the design.
In the section below, we'll look at some examples of Art Nouveau style lighting designs from the Christopher Wray collection and examine some of the points that make this style able to transcend the bounds of time and fashion.
The natural inspiration for Ampula is much more obvious. Having a strong resemblance to hanging flowers such as fuchsia, the tendril-like flutes and floral light shades are as beautiful as they are bold.
Making a design as intricate and large in scale as the Ampula chandelier requires expertise in many skills, and focused attention to the finer details.
If too much pressure is applied to any one component during the crafting process, the delicate glass could shatter and ruin the whole piece.
Because each piece must be made by hand, there are numerous options here that can be customised, from the number of flutes to the colours and materials used in the fabrication. Ampula is different from the typical chandelier design, and beautifully so.
A more contemporary style of Art Nouveau that evokes thoughts of the mysteries of the deep sea. Scientific knowledge of this area has only expanded during the later half of the twentieth century, so earlier lighting design artists did not have access to the information required t make these kinds of designs.
The beautiful organic simplicity is cleverly offset by the straight edged geometric lines, making Aria a unique conversation piece.
The intense yet sparse colouring and intricate glasswork of the Azure design make it a striking addition to any room.
The detail, when you look closely, is impressive. This is made from hand blown Murano glass, and everything must be done quickly and precisely.
The glass must be worked while it is at exactly the right temperature, and care must be taken not only in the handling but also in management of temperature. If the glass cools too quickly, there is a risk it will shatter. If it cools too slowly, it may warp or lose some of the precious detail.
The colouring is also important. Colour must be applied in exactly the right place, in the right way, at the right time.
Beautiful and functional, Azure is a fine example of classic Art Nouveau design.
The design of the Corbet chandelier is reminiscent of the Spring season, with its cheerful colours, finely crafted floral motifs, and breezy hanging bell-like tassels.
The apparent simplicity is deceptive. Take a closer look and you'll notice the careful twists and turns that appear to defy gravity. Surely such delicate glass should not be able to hold its shape, and yet indeed it does. The flowers are available in a range of colours, as well as multicoloured flowers.
As in many of nature's wonders, the chandelier is constructed in a series of tiers. At the very bottom is an assortment of hanging decorations. Above this is a succession of sculpted layers. Overall the effect of conveying an aspect of nature in the springtime is achieved successfully by the Corbet design.
For those who like to make a big statement, there's no bigger way to do it in the interior decoration context than with Daffy. This is a positively huge multi-layered chandelier with enough individual light points it will actually help to warm the room on a cold winter night.
As the name implies, the design is inspired by daffodils, and all the necessary colours and shapes are there to create the right impression.
The colossal size and bold colouring mean this chandelier will command attention, and it will dominate the overall décor scheme unless strategically placed. Large cavernous rooms such as hotel lobbies, ball rooms, or libraries would probably be the most suitable places for Daffy to be featured.
"Farington" Chandelier Pendant
Farington pays homage to the classic Tiffany style that started off the whole Art Nouveau movement in lighting design.
Elegant, yet minimalist, the design is comfortable to look at and will give a room a more cheerful and cosy aspect.
This is also a very simple hanging light to install because it has so few parts. It's certainly much easier to clean and maintain than the typical chandelier design.
The name says it all with Florello. A distinctive floral design is dominant here, with bright reds and greens that will catch attention even when the light is unlit. Switch it on, and the real elegance shines through. You can experience the way the light plays delicately through the carefully folded leaves and petals of the design.
This is a very distinctive Art Nouveau piece, and the exquisite detail is simply a joy to behold. There are no exposed light points, which makes this more suggestive of the Edwardian era than most of the other chandeliers which tend to allude to earlier times.
"Garthurst" Chandelier Pendant
Another design that will remind the viewer of the Tiffany style, Garthurst is similar in concept to Farington, except that by opening at the bottom it combines the elegance of a chandelier with the focus of a downlight, so it's good for areas that need more than average illumination.
The larger surface area provided by the "pyramid" walls allows for more detail to be added in the floral part of the design. Hanging three or four of these over a kitchen counter would provide plenty of light for food preparation tasks.
This concludes the first instalment in our series on Art Nouveau lighting designs. We hope you found it illuminating and inspiring.