Karen Walker makes chandeliers – extraordinary, blown-glass chandeliers that are as much pieces of sculpture as they are sources of light. “I wanted to make things that were both beautiful and functional,” she explains, “so chandeliers were the obvious choice.”
Made under the label Roast Designs, each of Walker’s chandeliers consist of coloured-glass spheres clustered around a light source. These spheres are all individually blown – some into moulds to ensure they are a regular size, and others not – to remind onlookers of the liquidity of molten glass (these free-blown “spheres” have treacly strands of glass left inside them) and come suspended from a steel line. But that’s where the similarities between the chandeliers end.
“Everything we do is unique and made to order,” says Walker, “and we work closely with each client, doing site visits and sending photographs of work in progress.” Most clients stick pretty close to the (very beautiful) standard designs (from £1,995), simply tweaking sizes and colours to suit their own interiors but there’s nothing Walker relishes more than the chance to create something truly bespoke (chandelers are priced individually). And it seems that pretty much anything is possible – so far the largest piece Roast Designs has been asked for measures 1m x 3m and consists of 500 spheres – but it’s a record that’s there to be broken.