Dan Kelley, a partner with MGA Partners Architects in Philadelphia, sees flush as less of a style statement and more of an attitude about craft. “Our approach to design starts with considering the way something is made while simultaneously looking at how it is experienced and used,” he says. “The beauty of flush is that, whether at large or small scale, it retains the volumetric character of the object, with less attention to the detail of transition of planes or other features of the design.”
Architect Andrew Franz sees the rise of flush as an indication of people’s maturing design sensibilities enhanced by their consumption patterns. “While [clients] may want all of the comforts of the modern world, they don't want to see them,” he shares. Further, he points out that flush allows a welcome visual reduction of clutter that often results in richer design resolution and detailing. “Walls, cabinetry, and spaces seem calmer and quieter,” says Franz. “From flat or concealed TVs to bathrooms with lighting integrated behind mirrors, architecture can be simple again.”
Suzan Tillotson with Tillotson Design Associates has been using flush fixtures for many years and acknowledges a recent demand increase. Her company, which is a lighting design consultancy, does most of their fixtures with flush trims in halogen, recessed fluorescent, and LED fixtures. “We use flush in ceilings, walls and floors,” she says. “We see flush fixtures as discrete, minimal, and frankly beautiful.”
Alexandra Mathews is an executive with Lucifer Lighting, which designs and manufactures recessed down-lights. As design concepts evolve, she sees flush lighting as a graceful solution. “I think as materials, wallpapers, prints, and textiles have become more exciting, there is a need to simplify what the ceiling looks like so that you don't have too much visual noise,” she says. “Lighting installed flush in the ceiling helps accomplish this—it ties a space together without distraction.”
James Burns is the founder of DesignMod, a company which recently introduced the Smoothline flush-mount wall plate system. His interest in flush comes from a desire for uninterrupted flow and making an impact with understated details. As Burns says, “systems that bring the clean, simple lines of modern architecture to lighting, outlets and switches, and other household fixtures provides another way for architects, builders, and lovers of modern design to achieve the look they desire.”
Claudio Ramos of BANKS|RAMOS Architectural Lighting Design is an expert who believes minimalism is paramount—and lighting should mostly come from hidden sources to properly highlight architectural and interior elements. What’s more, he sees flush lighting as much more than a quick fad. “These trimless, flush-mounted applications do not represent just a trend for us; its the way we see design,” he says. “More specifically, it shows us how lighting design will be addressed in the future.”
Katherine Butler is a freelance writer who has contributed to NPR’s Pacific Swell, AlterNet, EcoSalon, MNN and more. Her work has been featured on CNN, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Yahoo’s Shine, among others. She is currently at work on a natural beauty guide.