21st Century Classic?

First in an occasional series assessing which of today’s hottest homewares will stand the test of time. First up – the Sinnerlig pendant light.

A design classic is…

‘an industrially manufactured object with timeless appeal…which serves as a standard of its kind…and is beyond trends…an outstanding example of a particular style’

Created by London designer Ilse Crawford, the Sinnerlig lampshade first appeared in Ikea stores in August 2015. Part of a collection of around 30 ‘low-key’ cork and natural-fibre products, the handmade light is made of woven bamboo lattice, lacquered and finished with a black plastic flex and ceiling rose.

The Sinnerlig collection was intended to ‘work in a bathroom in Mumbai as well as a kitchen in Neasden’, with the designer characterising them as ‘background pieces, not showstoppers… trying to compete with icons of design’. Yet while most of the collection has since gone out of production, the light continues to sell, currently retailing for £40.

Scroll through Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll see it everywhere, floating above bedrooms and hallways or adding impact to living rooms and dining rooms.

But is the Sinnerlig a timeless classic, or will its popularity ultimately wane?

Pros: The lattice pattern gives a warm diffused light and casts interesting patterns around the room. You also get a lot of bang for your buck – for just £40 you get a 54cm x 50cm statement light, large enough to create an impact in even the most cavernous of open-plan rooms. The Sinnerlig is the ultimate chameleon of lights, fitting into any room and ticking the box on a wide range of contemporary interior styles and trends. It’s Scandi, it’s boho, it’s minimalist, it’s retro. It’s natural, neutral and textural, big enough to catch the eye yet light enough not to overwhelm.

Cons: It’s popularity – the Sinnerlig is in danger of becoming ubiquitous, with overkill threatening to render us immune to its pleasing design. (See my choice of the best alternatives to the Sinnerlig in the Best Boho Buys section of this blog). It’s also not ideal if you want direct light while, as a low-hanging pendant, it may prove too large for some rooms. Although it’s hand-made the lacquer arguably gives it a slightly plasticky appearance. Unfortunately it’s only available with it’s built-in black fittings.

Verdict? Yes it’s everywhere but it’s popular for a reason. Aesthetically speaking it can make a room. Its form is beautiful whether the light is on or off. From a distance it’s silhouette provides a striking and stylish addition to a room scheme while functionally it works too, creating a cosy, soft vibe with some flickering patterned intrigue thrown in. Natural, neutral, affordable products like the Sinnerlig will always be in. In my opinion it’s is a 21st century classic in the making… the very epitomy of accessible design.

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