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Gone are the days when lighting was a background feature designed to showcase the rest of your home. Now, thanks to material and technological advances such as new forms of affordable, versatile LED lighting, the way you light your home has become just as important as what’s being illuminated. These 20 wildly unconventional examples would hog the limelight in any home.


The natural world is clearly the inspiration for the Arbre branch-like lighting system and the Akiko pendant light. You build the Arbre yourself, fitting its sections together until it’s winding up your wall or across your ceiling in exactly the way you want it to – while the metal and glass Akiko should probably be housed somewhere just out of reach, in case someone’s feeling peckish and tries their luck.


We are generally heavy-handed when it comes to outdoor lighting, hence the problem of light pollution. This gorgeous alternative is the work of Bruce Munro, and is formed of acrylic tubes containing optical fibers – fields and fields of them. The design is currently being showcased at the Eden Project in England, but as soon as it’s an affordable option in the marketplace, expect to see these glowing softly in every garden.


Maybe there’s such a thing as imitating Nature a little too much. The paper and textile Cocoon lampshade from Julie Roberts looks for all the world like it is the remnants of something that scuttles on rather too many legs. If you’re comfortable with feeling like something could leap out from behind the sofa at any moment, it’s a gorgeous centrepiece to any room. Rock Salt lamps will also look strangely familiar to movie buffs, or those familiar with Temples of Doom.


The inspiration for the Cumulus lighting system is obviously the kind of summery day where you lay on your back, watching feathery clouds scud across the sky. Steven Haulenbeek’s method of cloudmaking is to string clusters of white umbrellas together, backlighting them and hanging them upside-down – and as you can see, it works beautifully.


Man’s best friend? That’s the idea behind the Lightmate heated and illuminated body pillow, designed to be hugged and wrapped around the wearer / user. It certainly is a striking design – Trendhunter compared it to a length of intestine – and there’s no denying its practicality, but perhaps something that looks a little less…biological? On aesthetically safer ground is Nicolas Gonzalez Garrido’s Guide Dog Lamp, which lights up when you whistle for it.


This glowing sea of plastic ribs is called the Mobile Lights system. Each LED-studded unit contains solar cells that soak up the sun’s energy during the day and emit it during the evening, hung from the ceiling with tough nylon fishing line. No external power source needed – and the reflection in your windows should look fabulous.