Niche Modern’s Sola Chandelier Casts an Enchanting Spell

As husband and wife team and lighting innovators Jeremy Pyles and Mary Welch readily admit, Niche Modern—renowned manufacturer and purveyor of pendant lighting fixtures of exquisite hand-blown glass—was never a planned entity: “It was not our intention, actually. We were simply designing products for our own lives… when other people expressed appreciation for our work and started placing orders, we knew we were on to something.”

Sola Chandelier. Designed by Jeremy Pyles and Mary Welch of Niche Modern.

That “something” had its genesis in “Stamen,” a fixture whose bulbous silhouette and tubular central bulb established the aesthetic of sensual translucence and subtle eroticism that characterizes much of Niche Modern’s work. Theirs is a portfolio of graceful curves and elegant elongations; of tints that run the gamut from “chocolate” to “sapphire,” yet retain the trademark interplay of light and shadow; of forms both familiar and strange, evoking the elegance of ages past and the tantalizing possibilities to come.


Oculo. Designed by Jeremy Pyles and Mary Welch of Niche Modern.


Stamen Saphire. Designed by Jeremy Pyles and Mary Welch of Niche Modern.

The very forward-looking Sola Chandelier tends much toward the latter. Dubbed by Pyles and Welch the “modern chandelier re-defined,” Sola represents a new found unadulterated access to this once prohibitive concept, since it eliminates the previous limitations of size and expense. The idea is rather simple—let clients spec. out a fixture to suit the prevailing demands of their unique space. Customized pieces thus evolve from the client’s choice of ring size (diameters of 24, 36, 48, and 60 inches); ring finish (brushed, polished, architectural bronze, antiqued brass, or matte black); glass shape (the enigmatically named “Solitaire,” “Pharos,” “Phaeton,” and “Oculo” representing a continuum of subtle variation from ovoid to cylindrical); and, of course, color.

While this tantalizing array of choices may provoke mini-crises among the decision impaired, it’s also sure to birth some beautifully divergent fixtures, each ideally suited to a particular niche, yet each eminently recognizable as an authentic Niche Modern. And that seems to be exactly what Pyles and Welch had in mind: “whether dangling over a trendy, city bar scene or an intimate, dining room table, all of the fixtures are hand-blown glass… as original as snowflakes.” The metaphor is certainly apt, but one could push it a bit further, because one crucial difference between Niche Modern’s Sola chandelier and the aforementioned phenomenon of nature is that Sola is here to stay: its phosphorescent permutations in size, shape, texture, and color are as fixed as cooled glass, certain never to melt away.

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