Custom lighting fixtures enhance the shopping experience at San Diego’s North County Mall.
Just as consumer buying habits have changed with the development of technology, so has the overall shopping experience. In an era where many purchases occur online, retailers find themselves upping the ante in aesthetics to encourage consumers to make the mall a shopping destination where they can stay awhile and explore a variety of shops in a beautiful environment.
When a new Target® store was planning to open at Westfield Properties’ North County Mall in the San Diego area, the shopping center group wanted distinctive chandeliers for the interior atrium.
Los Angeles designer James DeWulf – renowned for his cutting-edge work with concrete furnishings as well as other mediums such as steel and brass lighting fixtures – was tapped to custom design and manufacture hanging chandeliers at his studio in California. After six months of development, DeWulf presented two chandeliers that are dramatic and unique: one called Poseidon’s Halo, and the other named Falling Flowers.
“I was given the parameters of concentric circles because [the fixture would be] outside of the Target store,” DeWulf explains, adding that the client also wanted him to incorporate his Ball Pendants for the other fixture. “I wanted long, dramatic chain lines with strong proportions,” he explains. “We poured over the details for months to get the feel right; particularly the nice ‘thorn’ detail on the support rings. I named it Poseidon’s Halo because I felt it looked like something that came from the sea, like an offering to the Sea God for new lands and calm waters. This is an analogy for life.”
Poseidon’s Halo contains 68 ball pendants with faceted arms and white globes for a pearl-like effect. Measuring 34’ high x 12’ in diameter, it is made from steel which is burned to give a rich depth of color.
With Falling Flowers, each “drop” represents a flower growing upside down or under water, according to DeWulf. The placement of pendants and sizing of each drop were originally based on the Fibonacci Sequence, a mathematical pattern found in nature. The “falling roots” at the top of the fixture connect the chandelier with the building’s roof, making it part of the structure rather than just hanging from it. “I dedicated the Falling Flowers chandelier to my good friend Bernardo Pena, who recently died of liver cancer. These ‘falling flowers’ represent those beautiful people in life who are burning a little too bright for this world,” DeWulf states.
The 75 pendants are organically placed according to the Fibonacci Sequence, where each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. DeWulf points out that this pattern is also apparent in biological settings, such as branching in trees, phyllotaxis (the arrangement of leaves on a stem), the fruit sprouts of a pineapple, the flowering of artichoke, an uncurling fern and the arrangement of a pinecone. Falling Flowers is 35’ high x 18’ in diameter and weighs 800 pounds. It also utilizes a Ball Pendant light with curved arms instead of faceted. The transparent amber globes on Falling Flowers give another layer of depth, heightened by fire-blackened steel.
“We were looking for something to add to these department store courts that would be interesting and a little unexpected,” says Randy Galang, vp/Architecture & Design for Westfield Properties. “These do exactly that and more. They are focal points in these courts, drawing from other parts of the mall. They are points of interest and are conversation [topics] of passersby, as well as pieces of wonder and delight for our customers young and old. Customers slow down to appreciate a view from below Poseidon’s Halo and a child might stop and point up in awe at the suspended clusters of lights that make up Falling Flowers. These are more than chandeliers.”