For its latest collection, London-based manufacturer CTO Lighting found inspiration in Belgium, and in particular the city of Antwerp, from where the collection derived both its aesthetic and its name.
CTO Lighting is a lighting design company that is proudly British, but not bound by borders in its pursuit of perfectly composed pendants, table, floor and wall lights. Founded in 1998 by a Scot (Clare Turner) and an Englishman (her husband, Chris Turner), and hand-built in the centre of the UK’s metallurgy Mecca, Birmingham, CTO Lighting is grounded in the UK, but international in outlook. The materials it uses are sourced from wherever they are at their finest – in the case of its much-loved alabaster, this is Aragon in Spain – while design inspiration comes from far and wide. Anvers, CTO Lighting’s latest collection, takes its design cues from Belgium, specifically the country’s creative hub, Antwerp (Anvers in French) – its houses, its landscapes, its arts and its culture. All are rolled into the supremely elegant, slim-profile, circular, alabaster discs for wall mounting and hanging, that make up the collection.
While Anvers is the first CTO Lighting collection to bear a Flemish name, the company has worked on many projects in Belgium and identifies closely with the Flemish aesthetic. A Jules Wabbes table has pride of place in the London showroom, and Glenn Sestig’s work is admired by the brand. ‘We are very in tune with the interiors and architecture there – even the classic houses of the 1800s are less decorative, more refined,’ explains Clare. ‘Flemish design scrutinises materials and proportions and continually edits down. Even Flemish paintings are predominantly about materiality and light – they are impactful for their refinement and detail. This refinement and calmness is something that we are always searching for – it’s in our DNA too.’
CTO Lighting is grounded in the UK, but international in outlook. The materials it uses are sourced from wherever they are at their finest, while design inspiration comes from far and wide
This brand of era-transcending warmed-up austerity is perfectly captured in the Anvers collection. The trim disc of alabaster is set into solid brass and protrudes minimally from the wall. The LED light source is diffused warmly through the translucent, striated stone, whose edges are gently chamfered – it’s the sort of detail that might be missed at a distance, but means everything to the way it is read visually.
What started as an idea for a mounted wall or ceiling light became a pendant too. ‘We played with the scale. The large one has a lovely presence in the room. Just enough detail to be a showstopper, ’ says Clare. The Anvers collection comes in three sizes ‘The smallest can be used as a bedside fitting. A long corridor might need something with more impact – we adjust the levels of light within each one for balance.’
‘This refinement and calmness is something that we are always searching for – it’s in our DNA too’
With its unexpectedly thin profile, the Anvers light is striking alone or can be grouped allowing for countless arrangements – every installation has the potential to be unique. ‘A lot of interior designers that we work with are top of their game and look for ways to differentiate interiors from one client to another. So we build flexibility into the range. They can make their own mark.’ In conjunction with this inbuilt versatility, customisation is also an option. ‘The drop rod on the pendant, for example, can be made any height. They might be contending with sloping ceilings on barn conversions – and need a tweak. This is very much something we do.’
Consistency of materials and mood mean Anvers marries well with other pieces in the CTO Lighting collection. It was in fact conceived in parallel with the Avalon chandelier that launched earlier this year, and shares the exact same palette of materials. ‘They are like a negative and a positive,’ says Clare, of Anvers’ solidity, and Avalon’s ringed form. ‘Anvers represents the space that occupies the centre of Avalon.’ And both will bring sumptuous simplicity and warmth – that signature of modern Belgian design – to a space.