Lighting designer Sharon Marston puts the petal to the metal.
To produce Orchid for the grand stairwell of a client’s Connecticut home, Sharon Marston (sharonmarston.com) and a team of glassblowers painted each of the 10-foot-long light sculpture’s handblown, amber-toned blossoms with 24-karat gold leaf. “I’ve been working with glass for quite a few years and really wanted to apply a different finish,” says Marston, whose eponymous studio is in London. “[This glass] is such a wonderful color, and embellishing it with the gold leaf only enhances it. It also catches the light really beautifully.” With more than 650 blooms and stems that seem to spill weightlessly toward a tapered point, the commission is an elaborate combination of creativity and craft that started quite simply. “I really liked the idea of having tumbling, cascading petals,” says the onetime jewelry designer, who turned her attention to lighting in the late 1990s. She has since created bespoke fixtures and installations for private and commercial clients alike, including the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, and the Oslo Opera House in Norway. “Everything about my work,” she says, “is very meticulous and jewellike—and incredibly labor-intensive.” Orchid’s intricate arrangement certainly fits this description. Fiber-optic filaments set within the ceiling-mounted metal base shine down through the hand-assembled flowers, which are affixed to nickel wires, to illuminate the brilliant bouquet.