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.

lighting eoq designFinned Aluminum Pendants

Hong Kong-based EOQ Design offers three finned aluminum pendant designs — Bramah, Dub and Joseph — distributed in the U.S. by IM Design Concepts. Bramah has a tapered cone-shaped shade and comes in two sizes; Dub (pictured) has modified bell-shaped fins enclosed in a hand-blown glass dome and comes in three sizes; Joseph has a tapered cylinder-shaped finned shade and comes in two sizes. Fin color options for all include copper, grey or pale gold; glass dome color options for Dub are amber, green or smoke. All of the pendants are ETL Listed and provide both direct and ambient/accent lighting for distinctive design applications in restaurant, retail and hospitality projects.

IM Design Concepts

lighting marioLighted Word Play

Graphics and lighting come together with Mario Contract Lighting’s hardwired alphabet (numbers available, too) wall sconces. Manufactured from 18-gauge steel, these marquee letters include vintage LED lighting. Mount the lights on walls or ceilings, or use them as freestanding design accessories. Standard size measures 36 inches high, 30 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Custom sizes, finishes, fonts and shapes are available as well.

Mario Contract Lighting

lighting eurekaVersatile, Inviting Bloom

Under the colorful shade of Bloom from Eureka is a luminous globe that provides soft light. Bloom comes in five finishes and in semi-recessed, ceiling pendant or suspended configuration. A central source projects a powerful light that’s softened by the spherical polymer diffuser to create efficient yet soft lighting. A custom-designed heatsink diffuses heat produced by the light source and the spun aluminum shade comes in two sizes. Color options include black, light gray, white, navy blue or pale green. Dimming available on request.

Eureka Lighting

lighting yellow goatStarry, Starry Light

Displaying rays of pin-style light, Yellow Goat Design’s 90 Degrees is a satellite chandelier the design of which draws inspiration from technology and futuristic space-living. A satin silver capsule drum sits at the heart of this bespoke light. LED bi-pins attach to steel tubes and stretch from the core to form a network of starry white lights. Hand-bent at 90 degrees to form a hanging gravitational circuit, the effect of the LEDs is like looking up at the Milky Way or a distant solar system.

Yellow Goat Design

lighting studio dunnMinimalist Flute Sconce

Inspired by the soft curvature and minimalist trademark of champagne flutes, Studio DUNN’s Flute Sconce provides accent lighting. The articulating sconce freely moves to shed light in the desired direction. Metalsmiths craft the namesake shape of this collection — spun metal pieces mimicking the delicate features of champagne flutes. Powder coat colors and metallic details reference a mid-century modern aesthetic. Custom colors and configurations available. Bulbs sold separately.

Studio DUNN

lighting cernoCymbalic Style

After working with drum cymbals on a few custom projects, Cerno designers grew to appreciate the design and engineering that goes into these beautiful objects. Cymbals have a simple form, rich texture and a brass finish. This design embraces the idea that modernism is often about utilizing what already exists and repurposing things. The solid brass Ico 20 pendant has a 20-inch diameter and can pair with various light bulb styles.


lighting talaModular LED Lighting

Inspired by the thousands of extruded basalt rock columns that make up the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the Basalt Ceiling Light from British LED brand Tala unites solid brass, which has been sand casted and polished, with mouth-blown matte borosilicate glass. Delivering 300 lumens at a CRI of 95, Basalt provides warm, dimmable, ambient light, and it’s a suitable atmospheric solution for restaurant and hospitality spaces. Basalt incorporates a decorative ceiling rose with three connected nodes, anchoring three angular brass pendants with corresponding angular-shaped LED bulbs. The design allows for multiple units to seamlessly join together and create a constellation-like network, accommodating a variety of pendant display options.


lighting derek marshallArt-Glass Wall Sconce

Part of Derek Marshall’s architectural series, the Split Vortex wall sconce, this fixture measures 19 inches high and 6 inches wide. It features two curved and overlapping leaves of art glass, cut on the bias fastened with stainless steel screws. Choose from a variety of glass colors. The Split Vortex carries a UL certification and is ADA compliant. The fixture works with a 10-watt, dimmable LED bulb.

Derek Marshall Lighting

lighting specialty lightingSeamless Lighting Effect

Specialty Lighting introduces Edge, a thin, linear LED luminaire suitable for restaurant or hospitality spaces. Its end-to-end, seamless lighting effect eliminates dark spots between directly connected lighting fixtures. The fixture provides a wide beam angle for bright and consistent illuminance. Install edge using provided metal mounting clips, or optional magnetic mounting clips. This powerful fixture comes in 8-, 12-, 23-, 35- and 45-inch lengths and four standard color temperatures.

Specialty Lighting

lighting nordeonAccent Wall Lights

Mun Dark from Nordeon features three different sizes/diameters (5-, 7- and 12-inch) that can be mixed and matched to produce creative designs or patterns. Each diameter features a different projection, ranging from 1.8 inches to 2.6 inches, to add an element of depth to an installation. The wall-mounted luminaries come standard with textured white or graphite grey finish with an opal polycarbonate diffuser to produce soft lighting effects. The LED sources are available in a choice of warm or neutral color temperatures. Concealed hardware adds a finishing touch.

Nordeon USA

lighting sonneman18Dinner by (Electric) Candelight

Votives, SONNEMAN—A Way of Light’s architecturally-scalable, systems-based collection, provides an alternative to traditional candle light. Designed by Robert Sonneman, Votives provide a precisely lensed LED light source that casts a cone of illumination on the wall or surface below. Votives comes in two varieties: Pendant (shown) and Wall Bar.

SONNEMAN—A Way of Light