Designer Insights: Anita Summers, Principal & Lighting Designer, The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry

Trending: Decorative lighting is back in a big way — lots of pendants, repeating ceiling fixtures, floor lamps, sconces and table lamps. Restaurants aren’t as dark and moody as they once were. There’s a trend towards a soft, brighter glow on each table. Everyone wants to look good on Instagram, so it’s brighter but it’s not a bright light from above, it’s individual points of light all over the restaurant. Our attention spans are so limited these days; everywhere we turn we want to have a different experience and a different look. It’s more eclectic, a little more unplanned and not so symmetrical.

All aglow: We’re doing a lot of things with glowing lights, like wine rooms, wine walls, shelves of glasses or jarred fruits or produce. You don’t even see the light — that’s hidden — but it turns the object that it’s lighting into the light fixture. You can have a whole glowing wall of wine that’s warm and interesting and unique, and the lighting itself is just inexpensive tape light. So there are tricks you can use to save in some areas and still get really nice lighting effects.

Hot looks: It’s still very mid-century, and I think that’s going to be here for a while. Warm colors, warm metals and handcrafted looks are popular and there are a lot of small lighting shops opening that take a very artisan approach to fixture design. It’s very personal, very handcrafted and almost a residential-style experience. That’s in contrast to a couple of years ago when everything was industrial, with black metal and seeded glass and big drum fixtures. We’ve kind of moved away from that toward more fresh, organic looks, and that extends to decor elements well beyond lighting.

Current obsession: It’s a little more technical, but I’m obsessed with figuring out how to do this new style of decorative lighting from the standpoint of finding solutions that don’t just have great design but that are affordable, that use LED bulbs, and that dim low and react the way we want them to in the space.

Innovations: Thanks to technology, lighting is getting more flexible, smarter and simpler. You can control everything wirelessly, even change the color temperature of the light throughout the day. As the technology advances and the prices come down, restaurateurs are getting much more sophisticated about lighting and introducing these types of advancements into their spaces. We’re also seeing a lot more options today for outdoor light fixtures and color temperature options.

screen shot 2019 10 28 at 10.40.22 amContemporary Accent Lighting

A blend of Scandinavian, Danish and Italian modernism, the Elska wall-mount lamp is an architectural light source situated against a walnut back plate with brass fittings. The fixture’s dimensions are customizable, and designers can choose from among 36 shade color options and several metal finishes, including antique, brushed or mirrored brass, bronze, mirrored or brushed nickel, matte black, and oil-rubbed bronze. An E12 candelabra base bulb is best for providing up to 40 watts of illumination power; LED bulbs are also suitable.

Blueprint Lighting

 cerno ansa light outdoorOutdoor LED Sconce Collection

Cerno’s existing line of wall sconces can now withstand the elements. The materials and components of the Cerno Outdoor collection comply with and pass UL’s wet location requirements. The line includes four outdoor sconce styles: Ansa (shown), Tersus, Calyx and Acuo. Each comes in available in a variety of shade finish choices, including marine-grade brushed stainless steel, antique bronze, and textured black, white or matte gray powder coat.

Cerno Group

luxxbox1Acoustic Pendant

The Birdcage Acoustic Pendant adds a decorative touch to open spaces while reducing ambient noise by up to 40 percent, per the maker. Created from a minimum of 65 percent recycled material, the pendant’s form features segments made from 0.3-inch acoustic paneling. Available in more than a dozen colors, Birdcage also comes in a variety of sizes. Canopy sizes include small (19.5-inch diameter), medium (25-inch) and large (33-inch).


mariolighting1Battery-Operated Table Lamps

Wireless, battery operated, rechargeable table lamps can enhance a restaurant’s decor while providing subtle yet effective lighting. Each lamp comes with an integrated battery and a 2-pin, 5-watt LED module. Available in a variety of designs. Operators can select custom finishes or choose from among Mario’s 15 standard powder-coat finish options.

Mario Restaurant Lighting

originalbtc1Swanky, Retro Walter Pendant

The Walter Pendant from Original BTC channels the 1960s with a combination of either satin copper or satin brass and a choice of opal or anthracite glass shades for casting a warm, soft glow. The dimmable lights come in two sizes: 10.75 inches high by 6 inches wide and 14.25 inches high by 7.75 inches wide. Black braided cord extends up to 63.7 inches for the smaller fixture and up to 67 inches for the large version, with additional custom lengths available.

Original BTC

soffi chandelier gamfratesi 3 (2)Blown-Glass Chandelier

The Soffi Chandelier by Italian master glassmaker GamFratesi consists of two concentric rings of blown glass, each a different diameter. The chandelier’s globes transition from matte white blown glass with a pearl finish near the fitting to transparent, faded milk white or smoke gray glass at the outer globe, creating evenly diffused light. The leather accent strap is available in camel or taupe with contrasting stitching raw-edge seams. Internal metal parts have a natural brass finish, and roses are white-painted steel with adjustable transparent cables. Available in three chandelier sizes and in single lamps, linear compositions with three globes, and bunch compositions with three or five globes.

Poltrona Frau

solais strettaLow-Profile Downlight

Solais’ Stretta is a 1.75-inch-aperture architectural downlight that’s 4 inches in height. This universal fixture incorporates downlights in a low-profile housing. Stretta features modular, field-replaceable optics, magnetic trim and module installation, as well as tool-less driver assembly. Module offerings range from 500 to 2000 delivered lumens, 8 degree to 50 degree beam spreads, and 2200K-4000K color temperatures along with dim-to-warm, color tuning and color enhancing options. IC-rated and UL-listed for dry, damp and wet locations.

Solais Lighting

modularlighting entry2 image2Versatile, Modern Luminaires

Marbul’s design emphasizes asymmetry and futuristic appeal. Capable of being specified as pendant, downlight or wall sconce, designers can also group the luminaire in a maximum of three spheres for a more architectural appearance. Rotate the fixture 360 degrees and tilt it to 45 degrees to suit a variety of applications. Marbul’s rotation system conceals the fixture’s screws from view, and its integrated LED gear keeps it looking elegant and light, giving the spheres a floating appearance.

Modular Lighting Instruments