Our Favourite Lights (3)

Chris Fordham is Talking to The Editors!

Design feels personal, and much like other forms or art, drawing, painting, we put a bit of ourselves into what we do and what we buy. For many, the thought that people might not like their purchase or design can be a real kick in the proverbial. I recall selling a drawing to a restaurant once, and the apprehension to go back in case someone slated it was palpable, to be honest I should have been happy if anyone actually even noticed it !

What we choose in our homes is a good reflection of who we are, after all it was William Morris who once said :

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ .

So in this third iteration of our ‘favourite light’ series, what would the editors of some of the finest internationally renowned lighting magazines have in their houses? I was genuinely surprised and interested in what they had to say, it makes for a wicked read thanks to you all !

Ray Molony: Online Editor of Lux

Flos: Glo-Ball

I once compiled the Top 40 classic luminaires of all time, and my one regret was that I didn’t include the Glo-Ball in it. I think I dismissed it as too simple, but in fact Jasper Mossison’s 1998 creation – part of his ‘super normal’ design ethos – is deceptively clever and unquestionably a timeless icon of lighting. The squashed globe never loses its intrigue and practically, it’s actually a really useful light source in a space.

Jill Entwistle: Freelance Journalist, Author and Executive Editor of Lighting

Strictly speaking I don’t own my favourite light. Actually lights plural. Over the years I’ve coveted quite a few, from Flos, Louis Poulsen, Artemide and Ingo Maurer, among others, but the £2000-£3000 price tags were a bit above my pay grade. In recent years Italian designer Davide Groppi has joined those ranks. The light I have chosen actually represents his oeuvre, if you like. If you want the maximum of lighting effect from an achingly minimal luminaire, he’s your man. His portable Tetatet is typically svelte. Metal, matt white and on a magnetic base, it produces a subtle downward glow.

There are obvious disadvantages to a portable rechargeable light. It can switch off at inopportune moments – though Tetatet has a claimed life of 10 hours, which has lived up – and you have the bother of recharging. But there are also advantages. Like a candle it can be moved to balance the lighting in a room, and is therefore also useful when there’s no convenient socket in a space crying out for a lamp. It can be used inside and out. And for someone anal like me, the lack of messy wiring appeals.

Matt Waring: Editor for Arc

Despite being at arc for more than three years (and coming up to my first anniversary as Editor), I’ve not really gathered that many special or fancy lights at home – save for my beautiful Astro Lighting Atelier desk lamp.

However, when asked by Chris for my favourite light, the one that really stuck out to me was this simple lava lamp.

I can’t tell you who made it –


it’s almost certainly not a Mathmos – but I’ve had it for more than 20 years now, so it’s certainly got a great deal of sentimental value to it.

I think that it was a present for my 9th birthday; I remember my cool older cousin had a lava lamp that I was obsessed with, so naturally I wanted one too! After 20 years of ownership, it’s a bit scuffed and tatty at this point, but even now when I put it on, I can’t help but find the gentle liquid motion inside soothing, relaxing, and slightly hypnotic. In these strange and stressful times, having it next to my computer while I’m working from home has been an incredibly welcome distraction!

Nic Paton: Editor Of  Lighting Journal, Freelance Journalist

Am I allowed to mention Dunelm Mill, B&Q and Homebase? The lighting in our house is, alas, distinctly unmemorable and just high street-functional. Probably the most notable (certainly most expensive) is this DANO 10-light LED ombre glass ceiling light from John Lewis that hangs above our basement kitchen dining table (and creates havoc when visitors try to stand up to get seconds).

But would I say it’s my favourite? It’s certainly a favourite. But – and I realise this is a ridiculous cheat in the context of an article like this – for me, it’s much more the quality of light than any individual product or design that is important.

I used to live in north Devon and the bathing softness of the evening sunlight never ceased to make me smile (I’d say the same about Ireland’s Aran Islands). I now live a stone’s throw from the Solent and sometimes when the morning sun breaks through a heavy sea mist off Spithead you can almost hear the creak and splash of England’s old ‘wooden walls’ that would once have been moored there (when they weren’t mutinying).

Given that, maybe it’s less surprising when I say probably my favourite light is the bog-standard lighting column (SON when we moved in now LED) on the street outside our front room. Why? Because at night, when the house is in darkness and the world otherwise asleep, it casts a soothing, triangular shaft that you can sit beside and just think about ‘stuff’. That, for me, is what makes light memorable.

John Bullock: Editor of The Light Review

This twinhead spotlight came from a company called InsideOut Lighting, sometime in the early 1980s. It was an exciting time to be around in London; ERCO had opened up in Mayfair; Concord was backing The Lighting Workshop in Covent Garden;  Light Projects had spun off from Theatre Projects – and interior designers were getting the message that there was more to lighting than a fabric shade. And there were small units like InsideOut . . . and whatever happened to them?

I bought it as a design statement as much as a practical source of illumination (how practical can a pair of PAR38s actually be?)

I love the Deco lines of the housings – but I also love the way that every component is not only visible, but I could imagine myself in a factory, machining the parts. The strange green colour has been in fashion; gone out of fashion; been back as a classic – and has finally come to rest as something that simply Is What It Is.

Oh yes – and it’s a perfect example of how The Circular Economy can work in the lighting industry.


Once again, we take a sneak look behind the front doors of the industry’s movers and shakers to see what really takes their fancy.

Keep on watching this space as we plan to bring you yet more of our Favourite Lights in the weeks to come.

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