Popularity of Sculptural Lighting Trending Upward

By Katie Kuehner-Hebert | Mar 16, 2022




More people are getting “turned on” by sculptural lighting and other niche lighting products.

According to Etsy’s 2021 trends report, the online marketplace last year recorded a 27% increase in searches for sculptural or decorative lighting, a 25% increase in searches for vintage lighting, a 22% increase in searches for colorful lighting and a whopping 344% increase in searches for 1970s-style lighting.

“Equal parts functional and fashionable, statement lighting allows folks to spotlight their beautiful homes, while doubling as eye-catching artwork,” Etsy’s resident trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson wrote on Etsy’s blog. “Many are already on the hunt for statement lighting—from sculptural pendants to standout sconces—that reflects their own personal style.”

Sculptural lighting “is having a moment,” according to “Metropolis,” a magazine for the architectural and design industry. More lighting pieces are now being featured in art galleries, and some are then making their way into homes.

“Recently, a number of independent designers and studios have created one-offs or limited-edition fixtures that push the boundaries of common materials and challenge conventional production techniques,” design writer Adrian Madlener wrote in the magazine. “While some have delved deep into the realms of personal expression, socio-political satire and playful tactility, others have implemented this typology to hone their minimalist aesthetics even further.”

Brooklyn’s Head Hi coffee shop and gallery is currently hosting its third annual Lamp Show, featuring works by 50 lighting designers, including repurposed kitchen appliances (Franc Palaia’s Blender Lamp), children’s chairs (Gabriella Feuillet’s Ita), narrative-driven miniatures (Rhonda Weppler and Richard Winchell’s Burning Down The House) and illuminated cacti (Ian Privett’s Glochid 01).

“We see contemporary lighting becoming more playful and humorous,” Head Hi co-founder Alexandra Hodkowski told Madlener. “From bananas and animals to abstract organic forms, lamps today are loaded with personality, which people are really connecting with.”

Light sculptor Ted Bradley of Ted Bradley Studio in Boulder, Colo., told the Associated Press that “nature-inspired” sculptural lighting pieces are becoming increasingly popular. “It’s something deeply rooted in all of us,” he said.

Bradley created Samsara, sculptural lighting “inspired by the arching ribs of a whale skeleton bleached in the sun. There’s a tension between the grace and fragility of the rings and the strength and rigidity of the metal spine—a moment of perfect balance frozen in time. The sculpture can cast gentle candlelight on a dining table or brighten an entire room. Size, metal type and finish can be customized to your specifications.”

Even kitchen lighting is getting artistic makeovers, according to Williamson Source, a website for residents of Williamson County, Tenn. In a March 2022 post, it describes kitchen lighting trends “to keep you inspired in 2022,” including a resurgence in industrial design aesthetics incorporating lanterns, retro lighting to complement midcentury decor and lighting fixtures with “soft curves and sculptural elements” that “add much-needed variety to otherwise angular kitchens.”

“The kitchen is an important part of your home experience. It’s also a hub for almost every activity,” according to the site. “From entertaining to cooking and getting the family together, it’s important to keep the space approachable and put together. But for those looking to elevate their kitchen experience, lighting is a great way to create a new space for all to enjoy.”


About The Author

KUEHNER-HEBERT is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience. Reach her at [email protected].  

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