Lampshades are often over looked as a design feature. Of course, the function of a lampshade is to create a soft and ambient glow, however they are also the perfect opportunity to inject personality into your living space with colour and pattern. We believe that a well-considered lampshade can really tie a room scheme together or even become the focus point of the design.
The Library at The Soho Hotel is kept calm with its soft greens and neutral tones. Flanking the grand stone fireplace we have introduced a splash of colour with two large pleated empire lampshades. These lampshades are made from an antique silk ikat runner which I found on my travels.
We created our own lampshade designs for Fine Cell Work, in collaboration with Blithfield and Melissa Wyndam. Fine Cell Work is a charity that teaches skills including embroidery, quilting and tapestry to prisoners, which encourages them to lead more independent lives. These green and blue linen fabrics are from Blithfield’s Chatham collection, which has been hand-embroidered with red detailing to make a vibrant accessory.
Although we love a lively, colourful lampshade, sometimes it is best to keep it tailored and smart with cream linen. In room 209 at Number Sixteen in South Kensington, we have done exactly this. However, it would be very unlike us to go completely plain. So here we have sourced a textured sheer linen which we have had made into an oval shaped drum shade. The texture gives the lampshade a lovely tactile quality.
It is also important to keep scale in mind. Use optical illusions to play with the proportions of a large room. Choose big sofas and chairs, and over-sized lamps. The silver lamps in this residential house don’t look huge, but they are actually much larger than an average table lamp. The bright ikat shade harmonises with the rest of the room.
Lampshades aren’t only used for table lamps. In the Oak Leaf Suite in Ham Yard Hotel, we used two small lampshades for wall lights which line the bookshelf in the hallway.
In the master bedroom of this suite, either side of the bed are hanging pendant lamps. These were originally Shaman hats. We loved them so much we turned them into lampshades!
This April, we are taking part in a campaign with Vaughan called Made in the Shade. The Kit Kemp Design Team have created a lampshade which will be entered into a competition to raise money to provide solar lighting to the near 1 billion people in the world who live without it.
A lampshade can bring a room together like a pair of shoes can bring an outfit together. They are the finishing touches to a room and can be designed to fit in any scheme, with bold colours, playful patterns, soft tones, and absorbing detail.