During these late January days when daylight is still in short supply, it seems more than a little appropriate to share a great lighting idea. Coldharbour Lights‘ theatrical feathered bicycle wheel chandeliers are where Art Deco design meets Baz Luhrmann with just a dash of Boho chic. The perfect concoction perhaps to spice up the darker days of midwinter?
In the spotlight
Theatrical styling is right up my strasse – I have styled and art directed several theatrical/film inspired interiors shoots for magazines such as Marie Claire, The Express and Homes & Gardens – so if ever there is a product with even a hint of greasepaint/backstage drama – then I am immediately drawn to it.
Treading the boards
Brixton-based Coldharbour Lights was launched last September 2017 by Lottie Davies who trained in Drama and Art & Design. This ‘light bulb moment’ also happened to be the time that Lottie saw her 18 year old daughter off to University so it proved to be a rather welcome distraction.
Lottie trained in both theatre and spatial design with Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Most of the nineties were spent performing theatre shows that toured the UK and Europe. “All the while, I was quietly experimenting with interior light designs.”
Comic theatre actress
Lottie performed around Europe as a comic theatre actress. “In our tightknit theatre company, we would hole ourselves up in a borrowed farmhouse, devising, improvising, arguing, writing in a bid to forge our show (from scratch). It was only after many, many weeks, sometimes months, of devising and rehearsing and promoting that we would finally perform to real theatre audiences. That is the moment of truth. When you present your work to an audience and they LAUGH! Only then do you really know you’ve got something that works.
Break a leg
“It’s a similar trajectory with Coldharbour Lights; I’ve spent 18 months, on a very part-time basis, developing my ideas in the studio on my own. It is only since September 2017 that I have gone ‘live’ with a real ‘audience’ and the response has been wonderful and hugely encouraging. It is good to know that it is not just me and my friends who love my lights. Now I am adjusting my dials for continuing growth, trying to take the right sized step at each stage. Learning as I go!”
No wind machine required
“My work emerges from my theatre background as another way of creating an experience. These lights aim to be a beautiful and playful focal point for an interior. The chains are responsive to movement; they can swing and disrupt their patterns but will always return. The feathers will respond to a breeze or give you the softest stroke if you brush by them.”
“As I enjoy putting together incongruous materials, I wanted to use decadent, luxurious textures alongside functional, utilitarian elements. So I found myself combining bicycle wheel rims and ball chain with feathers and crystal in these unique feather chandeliers. There’s something about them that reminds me of decadent times in Paris.”
For me, these feathered lights throw up so many ideas from Swan Lake tutus to Moulin Rouge maximalism to the charm of art deco and aesthetic movements. I love how the feathers of this Egpytian blue goose feather chandelier gently flick out – bit like the skirt of a tap dancer – jazz hands facing floor! Would look so lovely in a bedroom/dressing room, adding just a flash of blue. Thank you so much Lottie for sharing – I know of more than one or two readers with theatrical backgrounds who will really enjoy this!
Opera exhibition at the V&A
P.S. Before it ends on 27 February, I thought I would mention for any theatre/opera buffs (and even if you aren’t you will be after this wonderful exhibition), Opera: Passion, Power and Politics at the V&A. It is so well-curated and it’s one of the best exhibitions I have seen in a long while. The dreamy bit is that you wear headphones and listen to opera as you move from one exhibit to another. This is a lifesize mechanical stage from the exhibition.
(Curtain, score, image of opera house, 19th opera ball gown, V&A Opera: Passion, Power & Politics exhibition. Photos: Charis White)
Just before I sign off, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to several new readers – thank you so much for the follow! If you have been inspired by Lottie’s new creative direction, you might also like to read these previous blog stories featuring ceramicist Vanessa Hogge, as well as wallpaper and fabric designers Anna Jeffreys and Mimi Pickard.
Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget if you or your friends don’t want to miss out on future blog posts, then please just press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post to receive email alerts! Charis x