Objects of Design #230: Sebastian Drop Light


Sebastian 7 drop ceiling light from john lewis
Sebastian 7 drop ceiling light from john lewis

I love the idea of a cluster light. In a modern home where a chandelier might be too much of a cliche – and too much of a price, the idea of a group of lamps at differing heights is both unusual and pretty. The lights do have to be at different heights though, otherwise they’re just bumping into each other and looking like they’re jostling for position which is not relaxing. I want my lights to look effortlessly beautiful not like they’re spoiling for a fight.

the glass amber beads hide the bulb from below

This one, from John Lewis, has a “dusting” of clear and amber beads filling each elegantly shaped bulb to add interest and to hide the bulb from below. I like the fact that each drop is shaped like a bulb already. It makes the whole thing a little more playful.

And then I saw this:

sebastian 7 drop light

And suddenly, for me, the whole thing is ruined by the ugly chrome ceiling rose. And this is so often the case with these cluster lights. This one costs £290, which is not cheap and yet the fitting has completely ruined it for me.

Now my husband will tell you that I definitely have something of the Heath Robinson about me. I love to customise things so I asked my friend Sian Astley (better known to many by her twitter handle @moregeous) if it would be possible to simply bury the fitting into the ceiling. Anyone who has been following the lighting stories this week, will be recognising a theme here.

Anyway, she said no. Apparently the transformer will get too hot and, even if that wasn’t problem, you would have to disconnect each light and then reconnect them, so it’s a non starter.

But then she suggested spraying the chrome to match the ceiling. Which is a completely genius idea. So now I love this light all over again.

What do you think?

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I bought a similar cluster of 9 lights and hung them separately from the ceiling, putting the transformer in the ceiling void, not a problem. Infant there is more space in the ceiling void than in the chrome enclosure. Could post a picture on this site if I knew how?

  2. Re re-painting the header part of this light: it can work but the bitter voice of experience here, choose the paint for covering the chrome (or whatever surface it is) carefully because it might not ‘stick’ and starts cracking remarkably quickly! Sometimes due to the heat of the fitting sometimes due to the cover paint reacting with the under surface.

    In the end we found a spray paint manufacturer online – name escapes me – who will match paint colours in aerosol can quantities. They matched to Pantone, RAL colours and BS which was brilliant, in a variety of surface finishes, Matt, semi matt etc. Very useful advice on what sort of paint for what sort of surface. I’ve used them a few times now but since I moved computers can’t find the contact….worth phoning to talk to them, rather than just online.

    Worth the effort though… I’ve got some great bits looking perfect now.

    1. Try CJ Aerosols (you can follow them on Twitter) for a great online spray painting service. They are ace

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