West Coast Modern Style in Designer Lighting
Illuminate your space like a rainforest retreat
Post-and-beam ceilings, stone fireplaces, and glass panels that overlook atmospheric outdoor spaces are just a few of the features one might find in a West Coast Modern space. After all, the style developed from a modernist approach to living in a temperate rainforest climate, where nature abounds and tends to dictate design.
Architects based in Vancouver, Portland, and Seattle during the 1930s wanted to create domiciles that responded to the terrain and environment. Drawing inspiration from architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the Japanese homes, they created a new style distinguished by low-pitched roofs, open-concept rooms, deep eaves, and minimalistic yet warm interiors accented with natural materials.
Stepping into a West Coast Modern style space should feel like a seamless transition from outdoors to indoors; a sumptuous retreat from the elements. With cloud coverage and lush foliage often blocking sunlight, lighting becomes integral to fostering a bright and airy ambience. But you don't need to live by the Pacific Ocean to enjoy this particular style; with a few select features and well-placed lights, you can transport the ease of west coast living into any space.
Accent with wooden lamps
West Coast Modern developed alongside the International Style; both emerged in the mid-century and eschewed historicism in favour of modern lines. However, the West Coast version differentiated itself by using locally sourced wood as the main structural and cladding material, pointedly emphasizing the relationship between landscape and architecture. The same principles can be found in the interiors, which tend to feature local materials. Opt for wooden lamps with modern shapes, such as Original BTC's Cecil table lamp with a cone-shaped base in cherry, walnut, or oak wood (pictured above); or Secto Design's 4200 suspension lamp made with form-pressed birch.
The 4200 suspension lamp from Secto Design provides a comforting touch of soft luminosity for any space.
Contemporary wooden lamps can be explored as well, such as Stickbulb's Diamond suspension lamps, which are offered in sustainably sourced walnut or maple, reclaimed heart pine, ebonized oak, or reclaimed water tower redwood. A wooden floor lamp - such as the Fort Standard-designed Counterweight floor lamp from Roll & Hill - made out of steam-bent wood, is an effective way to energize a space with forest inspirations.
Favour clean lines
Championing strong geometric lines, the West Coast Modern style effortlessly counterbalances the Pacific coast's rugged landscapes. Consider a lamp with lines that would complement a post-and-beam interior such as the Moragas table structure from Santa & Cole (pictured above). This table lamp features a large solid wood cylinder and circular shade made out of white cotton and silk thread, which helps to generate a soft light, ideal for living rooms and bedrooms.
The Beta M table light from Parachilna (left) and Excel Double wall light from Roll & Hill (right) both provide simple natural accents for West Coast Modern spaces.
As West Coast Modern spaces are typically open-concept, small and minimalistic luminaires like the Beta M table stem lamp from Parachilna and Excel Double wall light from Roll & Hill are great for scattering around the room to create several cozy nooks.
Pay homage to nature
The integration of indoor and outdoor living is central to the west coast lifestyle. Beyond using natural materials like wood and stone, this association can be taken one step further with lighting that offers a subtle nod - through shapes and motifs - to the ecosystem. Take the Branches 1650 suspension lamp from Brothers Dressler (shown above), which features an intricate array of steam-net wood "branches" and makes for a stunning focal piece in dining rooms, foyers, or bedrooms.
The Bertjan Pot-designed Heracleum The Big O suspension lamp from Moooi highlights nature in any setting.
Left: Davide Groppi Moon suspension light, Right: Roll & Hill Superordinate 6 Antler chandelier
In a similar vein, the Heracleum Big O suspension lamp from Moooi embodies a tree branch in bloom. Even more contemporary is Davide Groppi's Moon suspension lamp, which mimics the shape and glow of a full moon, or the Superordinate 6 Antler suspension light from Roll & Hill - a play on the Rocky Mountain West tradition of mounting antlers.
Make it eco
The west coast has always been a few steps ahead when it comes to green design, even when it first emerged in the mid-century. Environmentally friendly lighting is made easy with today's range of energy-efficient LED lights, many of which can now mimic the ambient luminosity of incandescent bulbs and candlelight. An alternative to the glow one might enjoy from a classic kerosene lamp, the Lateralis table lamp from Innermost (shown on the bookshelves above) blends mouth blown glass, turned wood, and brass finish components to emit a candle-like diffused warm glow by way of an LED.
Sustainably sourced wood is the main component of the Teelo 8020 from Secto Design (left) and Stickbulb's Big Bang (right) lamps.
Fortunately, more lighting brands are making a point to use sustainably sourced wood. From Secto Design's made-in-Finland Teelo 8020 table lamp, to the Big Bang floor lamp from Stickbulb in reclaimed heart pine, it's easier than ever to conscientiously bring the forest indoors.
If you want to explore the possibilities West Coast Modern style and design for your home or project, please don't hesitate to reach out to us through one of our offices and showrooms in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, and Winnipeg.