Lights that are focal points and centre pieces, yet unselfconscious and undemanding are hard to find. This is from a collection of shapes and sizes that we’ve come back to time and again, because they work, on all fronts.
They look vintage, and can of course be vintage, but this one was new – made to order by an Italian company to the design ideals of Mariano Fortuny. We love them because they embody many of the most lovely cultural influences within each design; they look wonderful in very different locations and with virtually every style of furnishing and design. The light that comes through them and from them is gentle and subtle, nuanced. Lamp light is diffused softly and beautifully through stretched opaline silk, which has been carefully painted with just the right delicacy of hand and pattern.
Each lamp is a complex piece work that embodies and portrays this very real sense of history and craftsmanship. It’s the more and less obvious influences of Spanish, Persian, Islamic, classical Greek, Italian Renaissance and Venetian artistry in each and every piece that makes them so timeless – classic, calm.
Sometimes these lights have a pierced metal corona that surrounds them, sometimes they are made of glass. Always they are timelessly beautiful.
Mariano Fortuny was born on 11th May 1871 to artist parents in Spain, the Moorish capital of Granada. From there he moved to Paris and then in 1889 to Venice. With this heritage – Granada being both home to, and close to, some of the most beautiful and certainly most memorable architecture in the world; Paris the hub for artists, textiles and couture, and then Venice, another place steeped in different, but no less stunning, architecture and landscape – Fortuny became a theatre designer for Wagner in Bayreuth, where painting, drama, architecture, inventing, stage lighting, song and dance intermingled. These influences and experiences fuelled his lighting designs, and the fashion label, especially the Delphos dress, for which he is probably best known.