No longer are chandeliers necessarily stodgy, showy and crystal-studded. Today's eye-catching modern fixtures come in a variety of shapes and incorporate unusual—and often recycled—materials, from goose feathers to Bic pens. They can work just as well in traditional homes as in contemporary ones. Some are even designed to be energy efficient as well.
Online retailer Inmod sells an assortment of its signature space-age "Sputnik" chandeliers. The chrome designs are at once retro and modern and can be customized to suit any space. One customer recently ordered a 127cm model, with 50 shiny silver arms jutting out in every direction, according to cofounder Casey Choron. Its higher-end, imported models include handblown glass versions in red, white or black. The Ika Trio in red looks like a three-tiered bundle of red-hot chilis and retails for $1,699 (inmod.com).
New York-based retailer Moss has long been known for infusing a whimsical streak into its furniture and interior design; the company's chandelier offerings are no exception. The best of the bunch is the German-designed 91cm spherical Pluma Cubic suspension lamp, in white goose feathers (also available in rooster) ($2,775 to $5,175; mossonline.com).
For the environmentally conscious, the Danish company Neues Licht uses fiber-optic cables in its exquisite, energy-efficient, Scintilla chandelier. Delicate crystal droplets hang from three tiers and are lit by a single light source that can be programmed to change color at the push ofa button ($2,550 to $5,100; neueslicht.de).
Each of the handblown glass chandeliers from U.K.-based Roast Designs is one of a kind. These multicolored clusters of spheres look almost organic and are available in four sizes, from small (40 spheres) to "long" (70 spheres) ($1,250 to $2,150; roastdesigns.co.uk).
And a trio of Spanish designers who call themselves enPieza! have created a limited-edition chandelier from Bic pens, which they consider an icon of 21st-century design. Offered in black or orange, the pens stand in stiff, perfectly straight, four-tiered homage to traditional chandeliers, casting a surprisingly beautiful geometric pattern of light on ceilings and walls ($1,150; enpieza.com). No one will ever want to get up to clear the table.