It’s August and there’s a chance of balmy summer nights and suppers under the stars. Nothing so transforms a garden at night as lovely lighting. Some of the best is hidden – embedded in herbaceous borders or along paths – from where it adds more than a touch of magic. But there is now a clutch of outdoor lights that are more romantic in mood – and highly decorative in their own right.
Christopher Wray, for instance, has this year launched the delightful Venezia collection, a group of three lights that look as if they belong in a grand Italian palazzo. Prettiest of all is the Venezia chandelier, which comes with six, 12, 18 or 24 lights (from £975, first picture), but its companions, a wall light (from £375) and a chandelier-like table lamp (from £1,175), are in a very similar mood. Made from glass, polycarbonate and nylon-glass fibre, with methacrylate and crystal “droplets”, they use Drylight technology and are IP65-rated, which means they’ve been tested to ensure they are dust-tight and water-resistant. If your tastes run to something more urban or sculptural, Wray also has the splendidly powerful-looking Deppen floor lamp (140cm x 68cm; from £1,445), which gives off a curiously gentle ambient light.
From Canada, a lighting company called Bocci has gained a reputation for its designs, overseen by Vancouver-based architect Omer Arbel. It is most famous for its 14 series, handmade glass pendants with a frosted cylindrical void in the centre (£276 each, second picture). Individually they don’t make much of an impression, but when they’re clustered together so that light interacts with the bubbles in the glass, the impact can be extraordinary. They have now been given a “wet” rating and can be used outside to add some magic to a garden or patio, as seen at the Chelsea Design Show in May.
Spanish lighting specialist Vibia is also one to watch, both for its own creations and its collaborations with designers. Furniture maker and sculptor Pete Sans has created two Tree Lights (from £360, third picture), which planted in among the bushes would make a glamorous addition to any garden. The two styles, one shaped like a mini Gherkin, the other smaller and more shrub-like, have a polyethylene diffuser that gives out a soft glow and a base that comes in white or rust-brown lacquer. If you have a pergola in mind, Xucìa has come up with the Palo Alto (from £690), a slimline design with a matte oxide- or khaki-lacquer frame lit up by LED lights. Lastly there’s Origami (from £325), a series of LED-lit boxes designed by Ramón Esteve for Vibia, with interconnecting cables that can be arranged in myriad ways. They make a striking wall decoration, seeming to climb up like ivy, and look just as impressive indoors as out.