Since the 16th century, crystal chandeliers have created ethereal, romantic visual focal points for the rooms in which they are hung. Italian gem cutters were experts at shaping rock crystal into a wide range of whimsical pendants and other drops to enhance the metal chandeliers that were popular at the time. Today, crystals come in a variety of sizes and shapes to adorn a wide range of ceiling and wall lighting fixtures with a unique look that stands the test of time.
“Crystal has always been popular in the luxury lighting space,” says Andrew Schuyler, Senior Product Designer for Schonbek, a company with a reputation for quality chandeliers that have been handed down from generation to generation. “Crystal reacts with light unlike any other material. The light achieved by the brilliance and refraction from quality crystals provides a beauty unmatched by other glass materials used in lighting.”
Product Designer Roslyn Yando says “Some say crystal creates an effect of making you feel happy and good. Humans are instinctively drawn to touch and feel a crystal. Crystal lighting attracts you to its beauty by refracting light and sparkling.” She adds, “Crystal lighting can enhance the energy of a space and allow us to connect with Mother Nature in a way no other lighting fixture can. It is the calm in our otherwise busy lives.”
A growing demand for more luxury lighting options has driven a resurgence in crystal chandeliers. With the emergence of LED technology, lighting choices have expanded for use in a wide range of unexpected applications, including crystal lighting in baths and vanities, and even outdoor applications. Schuyler continues, “Modern LEDs are able to illuminate crystal in new and exciting ways. The miniaturization of the light source compared to traditional light bulbs allow crystal fixtures to take interesting new forms as seen in Schonbek’s new Forever collection.”
WAC Lighting and Schonbek: A Bright Partnership
Schonbek recently partnered with affiliated company WAC Lighting to provide unique LED solutions. “WAC was the first company in the industry to dedicate itself 100 percent to LED technology,” says R.J. LeFleur, Director of Sales for Schonbek. Integrating the expertise of WAC LED specialists into Schonbek’s operations has enabled the development of products that put the company over the top. “Now, not only do they have beautiful designs, they have beautiful designs with immaculate technology behind them,” says LeFleur.
Integration of LEDs into Schonbek lighting products can be customized for each design. The company also prides itself on the craftsmanship of each lighting product. “The artisanship that goes into the crystal pinning and chandelier construction provides a unique look to each light fixture,” says Schuyler.
New Crystal Options
Schonbek recently launched their RadianceTM Crystal designs, which feature gems that create a kaleidoscopic, fire effect that dances and dazzles. “Radiance Crystal is our new premium line of crystal,” Schuyler continues. “It was developed with a special glass recipe to get the best optical effect. It is our flagship offering, but there are Radiance crystal elements in many of our other products as well.”
The Demand for Custom Chandeliers
More and more, consumers are seeking design ideas that showcase their unique style. “The market for custom crystal chandeliers is stronger than ever,” says LeFleur. “People are spending more time in their homes now than they ever have before and they want a unique, one-of-a-kind statement piece that the neighbors down the street don’t have.”
Schonbek offers three standard lighting collections: Schonbek Signature, Schonbek Beyond and Forever by Schonbek. Most of the fixtures in these collections can be personalized with changes to the color of crystal or choice of trim. The custom team can also craft bespoke fixtures at all scales, giving customers the opportunity to bring their crystal design vision to life. Schonbek’s custom capabilities include design, engineering, project management, production, installation, and certification.
“The average lead time for a custom piece can be as fast as four to five weeks, or up to a three-month process for complete design, engineering, production and delivery,” says LeFleur. “We can do everything from slightly different sized sconces for your hallway to chandeliers for every room of a palace or a casino.”