Ganged pendants are one of the hottest trends in decorative lighting. And today’s LED sources lend themselves to hardwired, multipoint designs: modern or contemporary; transitional or industrial. “The trend has been coming and coming,” according to Randall Whitehead, principal of the education firm Your Lighting Doctor. “What we were seeing in the early 2000s was the two pendants over the kitchen island. Now we see a more irregular, artistic approach; rather than creating a line of light along a surface. You see it in great rooms, stairs and kitchen islands. It’s not just light. It’s illuminated art.”

He calls pendants the “supermodels” of light: “Their job is to look good; they don’t have to do any work.” Whitehead credits LED technology improvements – such as pin‑based replacement lamps, high color rendition and warm dimming – for bringing LED decorative pendants into the mainstream of hospitality and residential design.

Designers and owners are becoming more accustomed to LED replacement lamps. And the lighting industry is now offering more hardwired LED decorative pendants. “What I’m liking is they’re taking a source that is unidirectional. They are creative in the how they make that light enclosure of a pendant,” he said. Glass, plexi and fabrics are all used in traditional shapes and in newer rings, curves and sticks.

Decorative ganged pendants by Contech Lighting
Pin-based replacement lamps, improved color rendition and warm dimming have all helped to mainstream the use of LEDs in decorative pendants.

Petite or supersized

Ganged pendants can hang as a cluster of fixtures dropped from multiple monopoint canopies or use multiple drop points ganged on a single ceiling canopy. (A chandelier is different: technically, it’s an armed, or branched, fixture dropped from a monopoint canopy.)

“Before we were capping out at three to five at different staggered heights, with the more traditional glass shade or globe,” said J. Michael (Mike) Sirochman, Northwest regional manager at ConTech Lighting. “We’ll go up to an 11-pendant gang plate, and some come with 16 ft cords so you can stagger them at any different heights you want.” He sees the new LED filament lamps as very “old‑school.” “These new Edison lamps are opening up a world of multi‑ganged pendants. They’re a bit of a softer light, so you can put more of them in there. So what was traditionally a light source has become part of the aesthetic design.”

Retro decorative ganged pendants by Bulbrite
Designers are embracing new LED Edison lamps, sparking a retro-industrial trend.

Long cables are sometimes swagged for a more industrial look. “You’ll see it in restaurants, anything hospitality. It’s starting to creep into residential and light commercial,” he said. “Wood finishes are very hot right now. The warm color temperature and the filament look seem to complement that very well.”

At the other end of the scale, oversized and overpopulated multiples can define spaces and transitions. “Several oversized pendants can be used in place of one large-scale fixture, to create the feeling of a ceiling – a canopy that adds intimacy and softness to the space,” said Erin Erdman, principal of eSquared Lighting Design. This “canopy” can separate a breakroom, coffee shop or retail boutique from a larger space, introducing a new design concept.

“We do a ton of custom fabric shades,” Sirochman added, mentioning hospitality and retail customers. “I see designers clustering fabric drum shades. They could be cylinders or rectangular. They go as big as 36 or 48 inches, clustering three or four together.”

Michael Eshaghian designs customized ganged pendants – modified shapes, sizes, and finishes – at his showroom, Info Lighting. “Anything from older to transitional style. We do any multiples of three up to 500 pieces in a very, very large room, or we could use it in a large entryway. Obviously, the pieces would have to be much smaller.” He said it’s not unusual to specify 200 to 250 pieces for a large, high-end home, but 10 to 30 pieces is most common. Eshaghian designs "clusters" mostly for living rooms, entryways, dining areas and stairwells.

Eshaghian appreciates the wide variety of shapes and materials that can lend an updated character to interiors. “Obviously, you have to choose the right piece. The fixture has to be right in design and scale and colors. But you want to overdo it… For example, even over a kitchen counter I have used the same bell‑shaped pendant in multiples. Instead of just two, I use eight or 12. Or in an office space, where you would use one, I would use the same piece maybe 15 times over. It becomes a design statement. It’s a very new, fresh look that people seem to love. It looks awesome.”

Lois I. Hutchinson

About Lois I. Hutchinson

Lois I. Hutchinson is a freelance writer specializing in lighting and energy issues. She is also the content marketing mastermind behind Inverse Square LLC, a Los Angeles–based consultancy. Contact her via lightinginsider@exponation.net with your comments and any article ideas that concern the lighting community here in the Southwest.

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