Let There Be Recycled Light

(Welcome to Gillian, who’s trying out to be a Re-Nest blogger!)
“From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, who can say it better than that really? But truly, Emerson was right: lighting is king. Arguably the most important element in a room, it is also one of the hardest things to get right. Add in the desire to find something not only beautiful, but environmentally sensitive, it can seem like an uphill battle…

Lucky for us, designers around the world have been hard at work coming up with brilliant (pun intended) lighting concepts crafted from all manner of recycled and reclaimed materials. From DIY paperclip lamps to seriously expensive works of art, here’s a roundup of some of the best green chandeliers just waiting to dangle above your table.

  1. Cascade Lancashire Chandelier: Michelle Brand’s Cascade Lancashire Chandelier turns the simple beauty of the flower shaped bottom of a plastic soda bottle into high art. Using 366 bottles pulled from a local landfill the lamp towers at over five feet long. It’s also (yikes!) $12,000!
  2. 16 Inch Sustainable Chandelier: At the other end of the spectrum, this mid-century-esque lamp is made out of recycled party cups with painted edges. Julianne’s Atelier offers similar lamps ranging in size from 8 to 20 inches, several color options and prices in the more realistic $60 range.
  3. Magpie: The South African recycle-centric Magpie Design Studio has captured the hearts of many already. Anthropologie buyer Keith Johnson ordered one on his travels around the world and the Obamas have two hanging in the White House. The variety and style offered at Magpie is amazing, there’s a light for just about every taste and some fantastic names. (Chicken Bum anyone?) Both the Obama’s lamps and Anthropologie’s cost a slightly outrageous $4,800, but with Magpie’s commitment to both the environment and a variety of social causes, you’re getting more than just a lamp, you’re getting a cause.
  4. Wine Barrel 6-Arm Chandelier: Belgian furniture designer Mark Sage uses the wood strips and metal hoops from oak wine barrels to craft a series of rustic yet modern chandeliers. A range of styles (and prices) are available through his store, BoBo Intriguing Objects and his classic 6-arm version sells at Restoration Hardware for around $2,500.
  5. Roulette Toss Paperclip Chandelier: So what if none of these fall in your price range but you’re still looking for something elegant and intriguing for your ceiling? Well, if you’re of the DIY bent, why not try a paper clip version of the classic chandelier? Etsy store Redesign Technologies sells PDF directions starting at $6.50 (or fully assembled versions starting at $300). You had a few dozen boxes of old paperclips lying around anyway, didn’t you?