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Lighting your space is always a good excuse to say goodbye to your grandma's fancy lampshades and hello to the streamlined, sculptural forms of modern lighting design. Here are three reasons to explore what’s on offer:

 

It’s iconic.

 

Lighting such as the L1 and the Nelson Bubble Lamps are some of the most instantly-recognizable and iconic shapes of 19th and 20th century design.

 

The Luxo L1

 

The L1 Luxo. A timeless classic.

 

If you’ve ever seen a Pixar animation, you’ll remember that hopping lamp. Its star is based on the Luxo L1, designed back in 1937 by Luxo founder Jac Jacobsen. Inspired by the lighting in a batch of sewing machines, Jacobsen created this industrial yet elegant classic that has never gone out of style.

 

archimoon k lamp

Archimoon K Lamp by Flos. A smart lamp that marries tradition with innovation.

 

copeland light

Knoll's Copeland Light.

 

The aesthetic is echoed in modern interpretations, such as Philip Starke’s Archimoon K Lamp by Flos, Knoll’s Copeland Light and the almost stick-figure lines of the Clamp Table Lamp by Pablo.

 

 clamp table lamp

Pablo's Clamp Table Lamp. Designed for simplicity and engineered for sustainability.

 

The Bubble

 

 Nelson Triple Bubble hanging

Nelson's Triple Bubble Lamp Fixture as a dining room centerpiece.

 

Nelson’s Bubble Lampshares the spare simplicity of the Luxo L1 but there the similarity ends. Designed by George Nelson in 1957, the Bubble’s iconic mid-century curved forms and soft multi-directional glow have made them a style standard for over 70 years. 

 

Inspired by a set of silk-covered lamps he found too pricey for his own office, Nelson experimented with a translucent spray resin across a metal frame to produce the Bubble and, over time, its various flavors such as the Apple, the Saucer, the Pear and the Cigar. Herman Miller took over production in 2016. If you can’t choose the shape you like best, go for the Nelson Triple.

 

Atomic

 

 Mercury Mini by Artemide

Mercury Mini by Artemide. A unique, contemporary piece for your home.

 

“Atomic’ is a design ethos that was culturally fueled by the Cold War era of the 1940s and 50s, and its influence is seen across architecture, art, advertising and design. Most notable influences in lighting are the geometric shapes of atomic particles or space race imagery, such as sunburst and sputnik forms. Contemporary “space age” lighting design has evolved into more subtle organic forms, such as Artemide’s Copernico Suspension Light 500and the Mercury Mini.

 

It’s practical.

 

Lighting that’s true to the principles of modern design is practical - except for when it’s just for fun, of course.  Much of the ethos of modern design originated from industrial practices and materials which means that practicality, functionality and usefulness are built in to every piece, alongside the elegance.

 

Aim Pendant Light by Flo

Aim Pendant Light by Flo. Arrange them the way they're supposed to be arranged- or go crazy!

 

Got a tiny office space that needs task lighting? Go for the Aim Pendant Lightby Flos or the BL Wall Lamp by Gubi.

 

BL Wall Lamp by Gubi

BL Wall Lamp by Gubi.

 

Need something subtle to light a weird outdoor space? Choose Artemide’s Cuneo Outdoor Light, a little streamlined wedge that can be fitted on the ground or walls. 

Artemide’s Cuneo Outdoor Light

Artemide's Cuneo Outdoor Light in action.

 

It’s art.

 

Many designers started off as artists, and modern design has its roots as much in art schools as in industrial factories and architecture. If you’re looking for lighting that’s as much a work of art as something to crochet by, you’re spoilt for choice.

 

PH Artichoke Pendant by Louis Poulsen

PH Artichoke Pendant by Louis Poulsen. Definitely a piece that makes a statement.

 

For classic modern design sculptural pieces, take a look at Louis Poulsen’s PH Artichoke Pendant, designed by Poul Henningsen back in 1958 as relaxed restaurant lighting. It’s a tiny bit spectacular.

 

Tom Dixon Copper Shade Floor lamp

Tom Dixon Copper Shade Floor Lamp.

 

Tom Dixon’s beautifully simple Copper Shade Floor Lamp has a more contemporary, subtle feel, and Flos’ interpretation of the candle - the Cand 205 LED Table Lamp - could easily sit in a gallery, no questions asked. 

 

Cand 205 LED Table Lamp

Tom Dixon Copper Shade Floor Lamp. The Cand 205 LED Table Lamp looks like something straight out of a museum.

 

The big problem with choosing lighting for your space is there’s just too much choice. Keep in mind that exploring is half the fun; having a budget will help whittle down your choices. But one thing’s for sure - you’ll love whatever you end up with.

Louise Etheridge
Louise Etheridge


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