CTO Lighting celebrates the British craftsmanship and tradition at the core of its collections – and nowhere more so than in its new luminaire family named after Arthurian legend.
CTO Lighting is a contemporary British lighting company with a signature style best described as ornamental minimalism. In its hands, pure, reduced forms become pendant, wall, floor and table lights, warmed up by the use of luxuriant materials such as satin brass, bronze, mouth-blown glass and hand-crafted alabaster. ‘LED integrated technology allows less bulk in lighting fixtures. It lets us light in a very minimal way,’ says co-founder Clare Turner. ‘But minimal can be cold. I always start from the context of the interior – how will it work in an environment. We aim for an atmosphere that is rich and warm.’ CTO Lighting’s latest launch, the Avalon chandelier, is a masterclass in achieving this elegant hybrid.
CTO Lighting began life in 1998, when Chris and Clare Turner, a husband and wife team pursuing careers in engineering and fashion buying respectively, decided to launch a brand that would celebrate British craftsmanship and beautiful materials. It was a time when much manufacturing was heading to China, and they made a deliberate decision to keep production close to home, in order to take advantage of the skills of local makers and to manage quality control in person.
‘I always start from the context of the interior – how will it work in an environment. We aim for an atmosphere that is rich and warm.’ CTO Lighting’s latest launch, the Avalon chandelier, is a masterclass in achieving this elegant hybrid.
While the technical expertise and assembly happen in Birmingham, when it comes to the crafting of individual components, close to home is sometimes beyond British borders – Alabaster comes from Aragon in Spain, and is crafted at source, mouthblown glass might be made in the UK or Italy. ‘We are British. The British are inventive and have a great making culture. But we are European too. We work as close to home as is possible.’ All decisions on provenance are thoughtfully taken towards the best possible aesthetic and quality outcome.
In the early days, the brand explored a slightly more industrial aesthetic, but has evolved into something more nuanced with the discovery of more refined materials and collaborations with sensual minimalists such as Michael Verheyden (who designed its Heron and Lucid collections,) and Stephane Parmentier (who designed the Rayon family of lights). Some of its more iconic pieces over the years include the looping Lunar chandelier and the linear Artes collection.
Pieces across the brand’s numerous lighting families have been sought by leading architects and interior designers, and bespoke commissions are installed in The Savoy Hotel, The Dorchester and the Chiltern Firehouse in London.
Pieces across the brand’s numerous lighting families have been sought by leading architects and interior designers; they have been used by industry titans David Collins Studio, Philippe Starck and Kelly Hoppen on interior projects around the world, and bespoke commissions are installed in The Savoy Hotel, The Dorchester and the Chiltern Firehouse in London.
Avalon is an entirely new family of lights, conceived and made through lockdown, and launching this spring. The name ‘Avalon’ nods to the mystical island of Arthurian legend which is often characterised by light and shadows in visual depictions. The suspended circular fixture features a satin brass or bronze ring, encircled by columns of carved alabaster.
Light from the integrated and dimmable LEDs diffuses through the small columns, highlighting the striations in the translucent stone. It creates an illusion of a halo of light floating high in the air. ‘We wanted to make a chandelier that has a classical, pure form but instead of hanging the decorative elements, we wanted to incorporate the decoration within the band,’ says Clare.
The Avalon chandeliers come in two different sizes that can be used alone or grouped elegantly to create a statement installation. A third iteration, the stately Halo, is tiered, with a small ring hanging below the larger one. Like all CTO lighting pieces, Avalon adapts to both residential and commercial settings and is customisable. Avalon is ready to bring a warm illuminating embrace to interiors both private and public as we emerge from pandemic house arrest.