Global Style: Fish Trap Pendant Lights

Please don’t judge this post by its title! If you haven’t heard of “fish trap” lighting before, you might be wondering if this post will be any good. Yes, it sounds weird. But these lights are actually beautiful. And this is a story of a vision to use something in a way that’s very different from its original use.

Fish traps are exactly what you might think they are. They are used to catch fish, and they can be found in Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Here’s what they look like in their natural habitat, as captured by Sir Mart in Penang, Malaysia:

Malaysia Fish Trap by Sir Mart on Flickr

And here they are in our habitat, after you add electrical and hang them as pendant lights. From Côté Maison, a home in Tunisia:

Fish Trip Pendant Light via Cote Maison in Tunisia

Fishing Trap Pendant Light via Cote Maison

The Selby spotted and shared this vintage fishing basket used as a huge pendant light in a Japanese home:

Fishing Basket Pendant Light via The Selby

This trio of fish trap lights was photographed by a traveler at Bumbu Bali restaurant in Malaysia and shared on TripAdvisor:

Fish Trap Lights via TripAdvisor

Not all are really long. Here are some shorter ones, a good size to hang over a dining table:

Fish Trap Pendant Lights

From Architects Kauai, here’s six fish traps made into a dramatic chandelier in a large space in a Hawaiian home:

Kauai Architects FishTrap Chandelier

If you don’t need pendant lights, you can set them on a table or the floor as sculptural objects. Here A Thoughtful Eye shares fishcatcher baskets seen at Oly at High Point in 2012, so maybe now in 2016 we are late to the fish trap party:

Fishcatchers at Oly via A Thoughtful Eye Blog

Fishcatcher Sculpture at Oly via A Thoughtful Eye Blog

If you search for these, they’re also called “fish catchers” and “fishing baskets.” In Indonesia they are called “fish bubu.” These lights may show up in upscale places, but they have humble beginnings. They can be made of bamboo and reeds, and they are loosely woven. Here’s a fish trap being made in Indonesia captured by Petcha2 on Flickr:

Fish Trap Assembly in Indonesia via Petcha2 on Flickr

Here’s a close-up of an Indonesian bubu made of bamboo. As noted in the story, these fishing traps are not made or used much any more for their original purpose of catching fish. They’re more often decorative:

Fish Trap Made of Bamboo via The Star

They have organic shapes and wabi-sabi style imperfections, like these fish traps that are leaning this-a-way and that-a-way:

Wabi Sabi Fishing Baskets

The materials and shapes are good for many decorating styles from global style to beachy and coastal style, natural whites style. They can even be mixed well with modern style.

Sometimes they’re woven of metal, which is a very different look than bamboo and reeds. Maybe more industrial. Also, if you are interested in buying fish trap pendant lights online, be sure to check the measurements. They can get quite large! See the size of this fish trap photographed by Whoa Adventures in Sarawak:

Fish Trap in Sarawak

If you happen to be traveling somewhere and you see a pile of basket-type things with funnel shapes in them, like these found in Italy by Strangetrader, grab some! They make great pendant lights:

Fish traps in Italy via Strangetrader

Here is where you can find them online so you don’t have to travel far. You can buy these fishcatcher lights online from Our Boat House in Vero Beach, Florida:

Fishcatcher Pendant Lights from Our Boat House Shop

I’ve also found fish traps on eBay, but quite expensive, like $800 including shipping from Asia. Another option is to look for a similar style, like “woven pendants” or “basket lamps” like these from Modish Store:

Woven Abaca Lights from Modish Store

And these basket cloche lamps also from Modish Store:

Basket Cloche Lights from Modish Store

I made a whole board of fishing traps and pendant lights on Pinterest:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Fishing Basket Lights on Pinterest.

As you may have noticed lately, I’m posting less often now but when I do, I’ll try to share lots of good stuff in a post for you!

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2 Replies to “Global Style: Fish Trap Pendant Lights”

  1. What beautiful pieces! I love them all. When I see pieces like these, it makes me want to rethink my whole design style, bump the ceilings up and get one of each. I love that they have a bit of history (or inspired by history), they offer a global flare to design and are truly unique pieces that you don’t see often. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and your style. Thanks for keeping the inspiration coming!

    1. Hi Jen, I know, I was thinking the exact same thing while writing this post – I want to change my style so these would “go” in my place! And yes higher ceilings would be nice. I’m glad you enjoy the blog! Deb

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