Tamara Barrage has designed monumental glass candelabras inspired by Chinese porcelain lights

Barrage’s pieces are a product of her month-long residency at Schloss Hollenegg for Design in Austria

Lebanese designer Tamara Barrage’s collaboration with Studio Comploj (with whom she learnt to master the art of glass-blowing for the first time) has produced a pair of monumental zoomorphic candle holders. These were inspired by antique Chinese porcelain lights found at Schloss Hollenegg (Hollenegg Castle), which houses centuries of collected glass objects, including: Venetian glass imported in the early 1800s; tableware and chandeliers made for the Liechtenstein family by renowned manufacturer J&L Lobmeyr in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; as well as various commemorative gifts. 

Barrage’s pieces are a product of her month-long residency at Schloss Hollenegg for Design in Austria last year – which was supported by Lebanese organisation House of Today. Much like design-led non-profit, Schloss Hollenegg’s mission is to also nurture young emerging designers by creating space for design research, thinking and critique. Barrage looked at the history of objects found across the castle, with one sparking her imagination: measuring over two metres in height and composed of blue and white Chinese porcelain bound together by bronze arms.

Traces of Light is a result of this study, two large candelabras that play with the idea that things once used to provide light are now used only for special occasions. Barrage’s pieces are therefore more symbolic than functional. Featuring hand-blown glass produced in Vienna by Robert Comploj of Studio Comploj, Barrage has adapted the shapes typical of her work, which is often reminiscent of sea creatures, to the medium of glass. Here, the stacked shapes float weightlessly. 

Traces of Light was exhibited last month at an exhibition titled ‘Ashes & Sand’, held in the castle’s historical rooms, which investigated glass while exploring its vast possibilities and potential uses, techniques, innovations and provenance. 

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