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Nine models of classic industrial design lamps

Lighting has always been, or rather, since Thomas Alva Edison presented, in 1879, the first practical and viable lamp, one of the fundamental elements in decoration and interior and furniture design, being able to completely change the atmosphere of a space, illuminating, for example, the area where the spotlight must be. Due to their relevance, today we are going to talk about nine models of classic industrial design lamps.

Relevant lamp designs in industrial design

We are going to make a brief tour across the world of design, through its different lamps and designs, some of them among the most popular designer lamp models at auctions, and we are also going to see the history of design with the most relevant pieces, which have become works of art.

We have been taken into account two criteria in order to classify lamps; the first one is the chronological, in order to see the evolution of designer lamps in the world of industrial design, highlighting the most relevant in each period; the second one has been to list them according to those that are still within reach in designer lamps auctions, although perhaps not affordable for every budget.

1. HL99 ceiling lamp, Bauhaus, Germany (1900)

Created in the Bauhaus school, this classic HL99 ceiling lamp was designed in 1900 by an unknown designer, and it was one of the first designs with electric bulbs.

This lamp has minimalist lines, typical of industrial design, with a sphere in opaline crystal and hanged from a chromed tube. Thanks to its elegant shapes, the HL99 has been used by renowned architects such as Peter Behrens, Adolf Loos or Josef Hoffmann for interior lighting.

Currently, it is manufactured by the German factory Tecnolumen, and it is available in different sizes and hanging lengths, as well as in different presentations of the metal part.

2. Luxo L-1 table lamp, Jacob Jacobsen, Norway (1937)

Although there have been many imitations over the years, none has achieved the technical performance of the Luxo L-1 table lamp. It is considered a top classic and one of the most famous in the world. It was created in 1937 by Jacob Jacobsen, founder of the brand Luxo. Today, it is part and parcel of the MoMA collection in New York.

The Luxo L-1 lamp, also popularly known as the “architect’s lamp” or, more recently, as the “Pixar’s adjustable lamp”, since it inspired the cartoon character of the short film with the same name, stands out for the easy articulation of its arm and lampshade.

In total, it is estimated that more than 25 million units of this lamp have been sold, which, in addition to its original tabletop version, it is now also available as a floor lamp.

3. Fungo table lamp, Studio Venini, Italy (1950)

Designed in the 1950s in Venini’s own design studio, the Fungo table lamp is characterised by being made of Murano blown glass.

Likewise, and with an original modernist inspiration design and in the shape of a mushroom, this lamp stands out for the delicacy of the striped print of the blown glass and for its wonderful and wide colour range.

It is absolutely contemporary and modern, so it can be placed on neutral furniture or even on the floor, as if it was a real mushroom. The advantage that Studio Venini currently offers is that, apart from working with its own catalogue, it also does so on request, so that if any of its items were out of catalogue, they could be custom-made.

4. PH50 ceiling lamp, Poul Henningsen, Denmark (1958)

The exclusive PH50 suspension lamp was designed in 1958 by the Danish Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen’s lighting company (also Danish).

Nowadays, PH lamps are part of an extensive collection that has its origin in 1925, when both designers created a series of lamps under the same name for the World Fair in Paris.

In the 1920s, the PH suspension lamp stood out for its modern elegance and flair, and today, almost 100 years later, the PH50 suspension lamp, made of drawn and rolled aluminium, still maintains its original charm, with a modern look that will never go out of style.

Made of multiple concentric screens, in order to remove the visual glare, and to create different light shades, it is not only a functional lamp, but it also has a very attractive and timeless design.

5. Topan Lamp ceiling lamp, Verner Panton, Denmark (1960)

The Topan Lamp ceiling lamp was designed by Verner Panton, one of the most well-known and influential industrial designers of furniture design in the late 20th Century, after the creation of his most famous chair, the Panton Chair.

He said that “often the simplest things are the most lasting and memorable”, and the Topan Lamp is a great example of that. Originally designed for the Astoria Hotel restaurant in Trondheim, Norway, in 1960, this is a suspension lamp, with pure and simple shapes in lacquered aluminium, with textile cable of the same colour. Currently, however, it can be found in different colours, usually warm and very striking, as well as white, black and aluminium.

6. Arco floor lamp, Achille and Pier Giacomo Gastiglioni, Italy (1962)

A classic floor lamp. This lamp, which was very popular in Italy in the 60s-70s, was designed in 1962 by Archille and Pier Giaccomo Castiglioni and manufactured by the company Flos, its current manufacturer and supplier.

It has a solid white Carrara marble base, which acts as a counterweight (it weighs 65 kg), and the arch has a curved arm, three stainless steel telescopic stems, one inside the other, thus hiding the wiring.

The original intention of its peculiar shape was to illuminate a whole table, at a sufficiently high distance so as not to disturb the diners, and although it would light up from above, it wouldn’t be constrained to a fixed point as ceiling lamps, hence the base of the Arco lamp is more than two metres high.

Like the Luxo lamp, the Arco lamp is also part of the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA).

7. Taraxacum 88 ceiling lamp, Achille Castiglioni, Italy (1988)

We probably remember this design, a model that could be defined as contemporary and classic at the same time. It is an amazing suspension lamp providing direct light, designed by the architect and industrial designer Achille Castiglioni in 1988 and, like the previous one, it is manufactured by the Italian company Flos.

Innovative, modern and original, Taraxacum 88 is composed of a spectacular structure formed by a total of 20 stamping, polished aluminium triangles, of about 80 cm of diameter, holding a total of 60 clear Globolux bulbs and finished in steel.

8. FLY ceiling lamp, Ferruccio Laviani, Italy (1990)

The house Kartell is one of the leading Italian companies in the design field. The lamp we show you today is one of those that, nowadays, are still very fashionable, since you can find them everywhere. This is no other than the FLY lamp, designed by the Italian Ferruccio Laviani.

It is a suspension lamp in bright, bold colours, which stands out for its elegance and simplicity.

Made in transparent methacrylate, in the shape of a half sphere,but slightly larger, which allows a little more concentrated light emission.

The special transparent material and the stunning sheen of the FLY lamp bring to mind a soap bubble, iridescent with the rays of the Sun. Currently you can find it in different shades, from warm colours, such as red, yellow or orange, to cold colours, such as sage green, emerald, or light blue, all of them transparent. Neutral colours, such as black and white, are opaque.

9. Copper Shade Lamp, Tom Dixon, (2005)

Designed by the productive British designer Tom Dixon, Chief Designer of the well-known decoration shops Habitat, since 1998, and author of other famous creations, such as the Etch Shade Pendant Copper Lamp, which has become, due to its design and simplicity, a classic of today’s world of lighting.

Consisting of a spherical polycarbonate lampshade covered in copper in the outer part, created by the explosion of a thin layer of pure metal, on the inner surface of a polycarbonate balloon, resulting in a surface with an extra bright and reflective finishing, so fashionable nowadays.

Currently you can find it in different versions, sizes —ranging from 20 to 50 cm of diameter—, as a floor lamp, and finished in silver or bronze.