Designer Lee Broom was vacationing at a friend’s house in the Cotswolds, an idyllic bit of rural England.
“I’m a city boy, brought up in the Midlands and living in London for the past 25 years, so had never really experienced that intense blanket of stars that you find on a beautiful, clear night in the countryside, with the constellations so clearly marked,” he says.
Broom was so captivated that when he got home, he began designing a lighting collection named Observatory. Since its debut at Salone di Mobile in Milan in the spring, Broom has brought the collection to NYCxDesign 2018. It goes on to London’s Design Festival in September.
The designs interpret the characteristics of sun and star reflection and light refraction in sculptural, spherical forms. Mirror-polished stainless steel and gold spheres are incorporated with concealed LEDs and acrylic discs and tubes, creating light sculptures in the form of pendants, table lamps and wall sconces. The names pay homage to the heavens: Eclipse, Orion, Tidal, Aurora.
The firmament has often been a source of inspiration for decor and furniture designers, and we’re seeing lots of examples right now. Part of the appeal lies in a moody, dramatic palette of blues, blacks and spectral hues, as well as silhouettes that evoke a modernist elan.
London-based designer Katja Behre presented a new wallpaper at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring in New York for her Elli Popp line. A matte black background is dotted with vertical, metallic threads, like a meteor shower, or falling rain against a night sky.
New Yorker Sarah Merenda has done a clean, crisp, eight-point-star-patterned wallpaper that’s offered in several colorways on a white or black background.
Brooklyn, New York-based Calico Wallpaper offers several celestial-themed designs. Lunaris has fog-, smoke- and midnight-hued backgrounds with silver overlay that evoke the moon’s surface as seen through a telescope. Aurora, with a soothing palette in an ombre pattern, depicts the sky’s constant transformation from dawn to dusk. And Inverted Spaces, a collaboration with Amsterdam’s BCXSY studio, transforms telescopic imagery of constellations into abstracted, matte-painted images. Even this collection’s color names take us on a journey into the universe: Corona, Andromeda, Ursa, Cassiopeia.
Health Ceramics , a studio in Sausalito, California, has a new glaze — Cosmos — that evokes deep space and star-filled galaxies for a vase collection. The swirling mixture of dark and light blues and glossy black create the effect.
There are more starry ceramics at West Elm : A collection of inky blue salad plates is scattered with pinpoints of gold constellations.
Avant-garde Italian design house Seletti collaborated with Diesel Living on a porcelain plate collection, Cosmic, with patterns evoking Jupiter, Venus, the sun and the moon. Also from Seletti: the whimsical Lunar brass tabletop storage containers shaped like retro spaceships.
Luceplan took home an NYCxDesign award in May for Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken’s Amisol, an oversize pendant fixture composed of translucent white film or metallized mirror stretched inside an aluminum circle. The large, almost weightless disk resembles a solar sail, either reflecting or diffusing the light.
Antiqued brass turns an eight-pointed star pendant fixture at Arteriors into a warm yet dramatic fixture; its shallow profile makes it a great option for low ceilings.