• Lucka Slatner

The beauty of precarious - cantilevered lamps

Cantilevered luminaires have been around for a while but it would feel that only recently have been getting the attention they deserve. I found that the overall design has been modernised and maybe this can be attributed to their recent rise in popularity among architects and interior designers.

What is a cantilevered luminaire? It is a decorative lamp that has an offset shade. In other words, a typical floor lamp for example would have a vertical support and some form of light emitting body placed on top, this would be then either wrapped in a diffusing shade or left exposed to display the globe. The vertical support of the lamp makes it appear very stout and solid. The cantilevered floor lamps like to defy that solid logic and I believe this is part of their appeal. They would seem as they’re just reaching out for something and would soon return to their original position thus making us believe there’s still some drama to unfold. There is a sense of beauty with their precariously leveled shades and one cannot help but admire them.

There are many different types of cantilevered luminaires. There are not only floor lamps, but table lamps and even pendants. Some have a very strong and heavy base to provide stability, whilst others have an ingenious balancing system that offsets the downpull of the light base and shade. One cannot help but to marvel at the engineering side of the luminaires as well for their aesthetic appeal.

When to use a cantilevered luminaire? They’re put to their best use when there is no opportunity to place a general lighting in the ceiling. Perhaps there isn’t enough room above the plasterboard or there’s a bulkhead or the ceiling is made of material that is not practical for recessing like concrete for example, or maybe the ceiling is just too far for making recessing practical. All these factors are a good reason to look for an alternative and in any of those cases the cantilevered luminaires can really save the day.

There are many other opportunities to use cantilevered lamps. I personally think they should not be used only when necessity dictates it so but way more generously as they add such marvelous point of interest that simply cannot be denied. With such abundance of choices nowadays the only difficult decision we’d have to make is not if but which one to use.


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