When we hear the word “chandelier,” several iconic images comes to mind. For most, it’s empire style. It has multiple arms, perhaps in many tiers, alluding to a pre-electrified era when many bulbs or candles were necessary to illuminate a room. And while these large and decorative chandeliers are reminiscent of lighting design’s early days, and pay homage to it, the top surveyed designers and retailers who buy Gabby lighting agree that the unique silhouettes or distinctive design are most important. Gabby’s customers turn to us for new and innovative lighting, and our designers aim to delight. Whether borrowing elements from classic ornamental chandeliers, or experimenting with new materials and shapes, Gabby’s designs have become increasingly transitional. As the old maxim goes, “make new friends, but keep the old.” Several popular thematic shapes stand out, and we’ve simplified these decorative silhouettes into basic elements such as circles, birdcages, and floral patterns.
With descriptions dating back to Euclidian geometry, the circle is a design with rich history and intrigue. Its round and equidistant radial shape has made it a long-time symbol meaning unity and completion. While the circle is generally an ordinary shape seen in everyday objects, when used in lighting designs its contextual minimalism is stunning. Without the usual extravagant embellishments, these chandeliers and table lamps bring us back to the original–the simple and elegant shape that has captured our attention forever. Whether it’s the Astrid table lamp’s singular circle around a linen shade or the Alta chandelier’s dynamic series of circles around a centralized band, these lighting designs showcase creative variability.
Characterized by their enclosed look, birdcage silhouettes are an elegant design typically in the form of a pendant chandelier. A signature look for Gabby products, most of these encaged shapes are not boxy like the name suggests. Rather, they feature soft, delicate curves and detailed metal accents. But its the rhythmic light-play from the frame that excites the eye. The more cylindrical Lucia pendant chandelier is inspired by a shapely mannequin dress form. To add to these piece’s variability, not every design has a caged candelabra. For example, the shabby chic Adele chandelier features ten faux wax candles that extend outside the cage in a more traditional lighting design. The blend of tradition with simple and unique silhouettes is what makes Gabby lighting distinctive.
Although Gabby is recognized for delicately curved lighting styles, our design team also embraces the beauty of modern, geometric silhouettes. Pendant pieces such as the Marina, Arnold, and Marceline chandeliers feature a thin, linear structure that exposes complex, interesting angles. Other items like the Marcella table lamp have a singular hexagonal structure. However, looking up close, you may notice the Marcella’s subtle honeycomb pattern. This piece in particular, as well as other geometric style Gabby lighting, emphasizes that ‘simplicity’ does not denote ‘surface-level.’ In fact, it is the opposite; simplistic design looks closely for core details and uses them to evoke minimalistic beauty.
Fish & flowers
Gabby lighting silhouettes with design cues that could resemble fish and flowers each include rhythmic overlapping curves. Many of these eclectic designs combine motifs and materials that appear to clash, but actually mix together in a unique way. For instance, the fish shaped table lamps pair concave and convex shapes. Pendant lamps like the Leah and Mia chandeliers also mix opposing curves for a freeform look within a defined cylindrical structure. The Sol table lamp mixes contrasting rusted twine with acrylic, in an eclectic style unique to Gabby. Returning to simple accessible form with chic contrast in either finish, material or form is one of Gabby’s effective design strategies. It results in unconventional, innovative, and defined silhouettes aimed to inspire.
Trefoils and quatrefoils
Trefoil and quatrefoil silhouettes are steeped in cultural and religious history. In Ancient Rome, it meant good luck. In the Christian religion, it symbolizes the four gospel writers. Its roots have even been traced to ancient Mesoamerica where archaeologists discovered this design on Mayan and Olmec monuments. It has also appeared on Marine officers’ service uniforms since the early 19th century. The list goes on. At Gabby, our design team recognizes and respects the quatrefoil’s rich history, aiming to continue its legacy through dynamic, transitional lighting designs. Many of our products, such as the Athena and Lewis chandeliers, feature quatrefoil structures facing different directions for an in-depth, 3 dimensional look. Items like the Trenton chandelier have a trefoil structure, which is analogous to the quatrefoil as a three leaf clover is to a four leaf. This design is reminiscent of Gothic architecture–another historical style that Gabby celebrates.
For more information on the quatrefoil design, see our recent blog post by Cathy Still McGowin: http://gabbyhome.com/blog/the-quatrefoil-timeless-design-and-a-symbol-of-good-luck/
In multiple ways, Gabby embodies transitional design. It combines traditional with modern and simplistic with ornate, without ever sacrificing a beloved and trusted style. While Gabby continues to meet customer requests for traditional chandeliers, lighting designers also embrace the beauty of basic elements and simply defined silhouettes. As we can see from these basic patterns such as circles, quatrefoils, and geometrics, these shapes are fundamental for a reason. Their elegance has stood the test of time.