Lighting contemporary fine art conveys a style and establishes a sense of class unique unto itself. Through minimalism and differentiation, it is able to suggest universal absolutes but never conclusively or dogmatically asserting their ultimate existence.
In some decorative schemes, the only truly unifying factor in an otherwise disjointed array of shapes, sizes, and colors that speak so strongly of themselves that their only commonality is the light that shines upon them.
Metaphorically speaking, we might describe contemporary furnishings as art, and contemporary light as the visual tour guide that leads the eye through a quantum landscape of stark individuation and divergence. It is the lighting designer’s foremost responsibility to find points within this landscape that can function as connecting “landmarks” that bring the various elements together.
Objects such as furniture, sculptures, lamps, and other decorations in a contemporary home often represent a form of art that either compliment wall art and sculpture, or in some instances, replaces them altogether. Full-wall murals and abstract pieces often decorate walls in contemporary living rooms and dens, and these elements require attention from lights that will define their essence and balance their individual presentations with furnishings and interior architecture.
Contemporary lighting for fine art also requires heavy attention be paid to fixture style and to lighting angle of incident. Fixtures must either look like contemporary elements themselves, or they must conceal their own presence and illuminate decorative pieces with what appears to be source less light.
The following summary represents a few of the major categories of contemporary lighting fixtures and some of the more common arenas in which they are applied.
Contemporary sconces often look very different than their traditional counterparts. They can be very futuristic in physical design, and they are often tied to user-friendly dimmer switches that allow people to adjust the light quickly and easily.
Contemporary floor lighting unites task with the abstract by heavily relying upon the lamps themselves as decorative fixtures. It is not uncommon to find highly avant-garde lamps in a contemporary den or living room that add both a unique sense of form, but sometimes even a very unique and warm sense of color to the scheme.
Ceiling Pendant Lights
In contemporary lighting, pendant lights are more highly favored as either futuristic pieces or abstract elements that add a touch of the avant-garde to the top of the room.
Pendant lights add depth and dimension to contemporary design by making larger furnishings such as tables and desks stand out. They also act as centralizing forces that concentrate a down light in the center of the room and unite wall and floor lighting with something akin to a latticework effect.
Recessed Ceiling Lights
Recessed lights can be aimed at different angles of incident to produce pinpoint directional lighting.
Some recessed projector lights can be rotated a full 360 degrees, and they can be used to accent photography collections and hanging prints, abstract designs, and some sculpture. They are limited in two major respects, however, that make them less than ideal for use as art lights.
For one thing, they produce harmful UV light that can damage oils and canvases. Secondly, while recessed lights allow for directional adjustment, they do not allow for precision adjustments of the light beams themselves.
For such requirements, art projectors provide a much better source of contemporary art lighting.
Art projector lights have a wonderful way of seamlessly integrating into any type of lighting design. Highly favored by galleries and residential art collectors, they provide a clean and hidden source of contemporary lighting.
They can be used to illuminate everything from black and white photography to abstract three-dimensional sculpture.
Because the light appears to come from the subject and not the fixture, objects, paintings, prints, and photos appear to magically glow with their own light.
Accent lighting plays an essential role in contemporary lighting design, as it does in almost every decorative lighting genre.
Strip lights provide an excellent source of linear accent lighting that can compliment interior architecture, coves, cabinets, and furniture.
Regardless of their actual position, hidden linear lights introduce a floating effect that accentuates contemporary furnishings with subtlety and sophistication.
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