The timeless nature of globe pendant lighting is undeniable. Recently creative contemporary lighting designers are bringing these luminaires center stage. Minimal with the slightest retro touch, globe lights are effortlessly cool. But why do they seem to be everywhere? Globe lights hit the sweet spot between modern and classic, making them a versatile way to light up a room.
The glass globe pendant light may feel like something straight out of nature, but the credit for popularizing this pendant light design goes to Joseph Leopold Eichler. Eichler was a post-World War II real estate developer known for distinctive residential subdivisions that boasted easy mid-century modern style. In 1943, Eichler rented the Sidney Bazett House, a Usonian-style home built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Living there inspired Eichler to become a residential real estate developer of modernist homes. Eichler took Wright’s design ideas and made them accessible to middle class homebuyers.
Lighting the interior of Eichler homes was typically achieved through the use of hanging stem mounted globe lights (sometimes referred to as ball lights) – placed strategically throughout the home. Further interior lighting was then supplemented by floor or table lamps.
Why did Eichler feature globe lights so predominantly throughout his designs? While we may never know why this simple style spoke to him, we can break down why globe lights work so well in residential and commercial applications.
Eichler’s design aesthetic was centered around nature and simplicity. The sun is our original light source and as a simple glowing orb, globe lights reflect that lucidity. The simplicity of hanging globe lights fits into a variety of architectural aesthetics.
The truth is, globe pendant lights are incredibly versatile. A large globe pendant light in black makes a stunning statement in an atrium; or a group of small glass globe lights can be grouped together, creating intimate spaces in a hotel lobby. This would replace uninspiring track lighting. Globe pendants can be soft glowing orbs of ambient light in a restaurant. And today, inspired lighting designers are creatively incorporating downlights into globe pendants to provide direct lighting where you want it.
Product designers are creating fun new ways to draw inspiration from the original globe pendant light and transform it into new and exciting styles to inspire architects and lighting designers.
While globe lights have traditionally been used as ceiling fixtures or sconces, they’re now breaking the mold and transitioning into table and floor lamps. Today’s designers and consumers can choose from many glass globe options, pushing beyond the conventional, uninspired shade-covered light bulb.
Looking for something simple? Find an illuminated globe atop a smooth stem for even ambient light. Are you looking for something that stands out? There are a variety of asymmetrical designs that bring unconventional playfulness. These new globe applications come in a variety of forms and have become a readily available staple for residential and commercial lighting designs.
Another light bringing the traditional globe into the modern era is Visa Lighting’s Muse fixture. The beautiful glass globe pendant light features an indirect illumination method that creates a dynamic reflection effect, enhancing the glow in the lower half of the sphere. This unique design allows Muse's LED light source to seemingly float inside the globe.
The Muse glass globe pendant light embodies a classic globe shape, but the unique style of the cut-off glass at the bottom invites the viewer to peer up into the globe. “Our goal was to design something that invited people in and created a distinct space when seen from below the fixture,” says product designer Hans Nielsen. This uniqueness is highlighted by more than 25 different finish options, from classic black to bronze.
It’s ideal for smaller spaces, alone or grouped. Muse is currently available in the glass globe pendant style, and will soon be offering a healthcare-friendly acrylic diffuser option.
Not sure if a classic globe pendant is right for the modern space you’ve designed? The availability of vacuum-formed acrylics has allowed more creative designers to think beyond the traditional ball form. Curved luminaire shapes can now be readily produced with precision, creating new and interesting forms.
The Peek family by Visa Lighting may be just the reimagined style you want for your design. Featuring an asymmetrical hole and a fully illuminated body, this design feels modern while giving off a strong mid-century modern aesthetic. With three different body sizes and RGB options, your creativity can go wild.
The linear pendant light, or linear globe chandelier, has become an extremely useful option for lighting designers and architects wanting to spread even light across surfaces. Whether above a conference table or a kitchen island, an even pool of light welcomes group collaboration.
Mixing the convenience of a linear pendant with the trendiness of a globe light is a sure way to draw attention and add interest to your space. The juxtaposition of globes across a pendant creates a whimsical look and provides useful light.
Eichler’s homes were known for their connection to the outdoors, featuring a lot of glass and windows to bring the beauty of the natural landscape inside. Today this concept isn’t quite so novel. Frequently contemporary outdoor spaces are considered every bit as important to a design as the interior. In homes, that may mean a comfortable patio with festive globe light strings or low voltage garden lights. However, durability and light output are critical for commercial outdoor lighting.
Visa Lighting’s Zume Out luminaire makes hanging globe lights safe, accessible, and reliable for all commercial outdoor lighting applications. New sizes, styles and mounting options are always being added to an already extensive collection of outdoor pendant lighting. Recently Visa Lighting expanded the Zume collection to include modern indoor globe models – Zume In, as well as indoor models with downlights – Zume DL.
If you’ve seen what is out there, but nothing seems to fit quite right with your design, why not make your own? You can work with Visa Lighting to customize your own globe pendant light to add that special lighting piece you’ve been wanting.
So, what would Joseph Eichler think about today’s globe lighting trend? Would he be pleased with all of the modern developments and evolution of his original designs? There can be almost no doubt he’d be thrilled to see it, as he was a man ahead of his time and embraced creative thinking. Perhaps, Eichler’s own words can say it the best,
“I operate on the theory of innovation; I develop what I believe to be good and then offer it to my customers. Many builders say, ‘give the people what they want,’ but how can people ‘want’ innovations they have never seen or heard of?”
Only time will tell, but it seems that what people want is more of the modern, innovative, and timeless globe pendant light.