Design lighting

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Since the light bulb was invented, many designers from all over the world have created designer lamps, which are just amazing jewels. Here you can find an historical selection that also takes into consideration the latest trends

Design lighting
Arch. Caterina Scamardella
Arch. Caterina Scamardella

The importance of lighting and illumination


Lamps, among all of the other design objects, are perhaps the most sought-after because they give a touch of sophistication to the home if chosen with care.


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Lighting is the fourth dimension of the interior design project.
It allows us to characterize a space, playing with the various intensities and shades of light, better defining forms and functions.


The importance of interior lighting


Light is our main ally in environments because without it we would not be able to carry out normal daily activities.

Precisely because of the importance it has, throughout history, since the first light bulb was invented, designers from all over the world have spent most of their time looking for the best configurations that combine aesthetics and functionality.

We could write a very long article just by listing them all but, instaed, we will just tell you about the most historical, the most recent and the timeless models that enrich our spaces.


Historic design lamps


The first of the series is PH, designed in the 1920s by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen, of which many variants and imitations have been produced over time.

PH di Poul Henningse per Louis Poulsen - Pinterest PH by Poul Henningse for Louis Poulsen - Pinterest

Over the years it has become the Nordic style lamp par excellence and it has been included in many large projects such as the Auditorium of Turku in Finland by Alvar Aalto.
The reason for its success? The simple and modern lines and the perfect lampshade, avilable in three variations, which is shadowless.

2097/30 di Gino Sarfatti per Flos - Pinterest2097/30 by Gino Sarfatti for Flos - Pinterest

2097/30 by Gino Sarfatti is made by FLOS from 1958.
It is a suspension lamp that takes up the tradition of chandeliers but reinterprets it with a central steel body inside which the electrical cables are hidden, while the 30 bulbs are on the arms finished in brass.

Lampada AJ di Arne Jacobsen per Louis Poulsen - PinterestLampada AJ by Arne Jacobsen for Louis Poulsen - Pinterest

Arne Jacobsen in 1960 designed the AJ table lamp for Louis Poulsen, where the design of the diffuser follows the cone of light. It is a choice dictated by the need to combat glare. The material is aluminum with different color finishes.

The lamps of the Castiglioni brothers


Taccia, made by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for Flos, is a table lamp from 1962 in which the actual lamp is hidden in the base which is a steel cylinder.

Taccia dei fratelli Castiglioni per Flos - Pinterest Taccia by fratelli Castiglioni for Flos - Pinterest

The light is reflected on a white convex metal disc contained in the transparent glass paraboloid, which moves to direct the light.
A brilliant object.

Arco dei fratelli Castiglioni per Flos - PinterestArco by fratelli Castiglioni for Flos - Pinterest

The lamp that everyone would like to have is Arco, also by Castiglioni, from 1962. They came up with the most amazing solution to illuminate a table, leaving the space around it completely free.

It is characterized by three elements: the marble base, the telescopic steel stem and the adjustable reflector, which are all functional for the purpose. Even the marble base is not purely decorative but serves as a counterweight in order to be able to move it more easily.

Italian design lamps from the 1960s


In 1964 Bruno Munari invented the Falkland lamp for Danese Milano, in the suspended version but also produced as a floor lamp. With this design object Munari finds a new use for the white tubular elastic shirt that appeared at that time.

Falkland di Bruno Munari per Danese Milano - Pinterest Falkland by Bruno Munari for Danese Milano - Pinterest

This is highlighted by the metal rings of different sizes contained inside, which are flatten for storage, shipping and facilitate the operation.

Eclisse di Magistretti per Artemide - PinterestEclisse by Magistretti for Artemide - Pinterest

The Eclisse lamp, designed by Vico Magistretti in 1965 for Artemide, won the Compasso d'Oro in 1967 and is now a part of many museum collections.

It is composed of three metal hemispheres that form the base, the shell and the screen of the light and allow you to modulate the intensity of the same. Later a ring was added to turn the lamp without burning your fingers.

Cobra di Elio Martinelli per Martinelli Luce - PinterestCobra by Elio Martinelli for Martinelli Luce - Pinterest

The Cobra lamp by Elio Martinelli for Martinelli Luce. This lamp exploits the experiments on plastics of the moment and is completely in resin. It is among the first of its kind.

Like a snake, the base is rotatable and allows the lamp to take on different orientations.

The 70s and designer lamps


Saori Q1 is the lamp created by the japanese designer Kazuhide Takahama for NEMO Lighting in 1973.

Saori Q1 di Kazuhide Takahama per Nemo Lighting - PinterestSaori Q1 by Kazuhide Takahama for Nemo Lighting - Pinterest

This model is characterized by a wall lamp, a square in stretch fabric covering a structure that has a central sign inspired by the spatial cuts of Lucio Fontana.

Atollo di Magistretti per Oluce - PinterestAtollo by Magistretti for Oluce - Pinterest

In 1977 Vico Magistretti designed the very elegant Atollo lamp for Oluce. It is an anthropomorphic lamp always composed of three elements: the cylindrical base, the passage cone and the hemisphere hood.

The material with which it is produced is painted aluminum. This lamp also won the Compasso d'Oro in 1979.


Design lights: from the 80s to today


We are now approaching relatively recent times with the Tolomeo lamp by De Lucchi and Fassina for Artemide in 1987, which over time has had many variations and has been adapted from a table lamp to a floor and wall lamp.

Lampada Tolomeo di Artemide - Pinterest Lampada Tolomeo by De Lucchi and Fassina for Artemide - Pinterest

In this model, the classic arm lamp is reinterpreted with springs hidden in the thickness of the arm and held from the outside by steel tie rods.
The end result is a minimal and elegant lamp that won the Compasso d'Oro in 1989.

Castore di Artemide - PinterestCastore by De Lucchi and Ubbens for Artemide - Pinterest

Castore is the lamp born in 2003 from the pen of De Lucchi and Ubbens for Artemide. It is a simple lamp that reinterprets the archetype of the sphere with the blown glass forming the diffuser, while the rose window is in thermoplastic resin.

The model is characterized by a ball floating in the air, of which there are also floor and table versions.

Designer lighting from 2000


Also from the 2000s are the Vertigo lamp by Guisset for Petite Friture, a suspension in fiberglass that looks exactly like an amazing butterfly.

Vertigo di Guisset per Petite Friture - PinterestVertigo by Guisset for Petite Friture - Pinterest

Mercury produced by Artemide and designed by Ross Lovegrove, which looks like a set of many drops of mercury fluttering in the air, is actually characterized by the most beautiful sensation of lightness that tou will ever experience in your entire life. 

Mercury di Ross Lovegrove per Artemide - PinterestMercury by Ross Lovegrove for Artemide - Pinterest

The time has come: what should we actually say about OK by Flos?

Lampada OK di Konstantin Grcic per Flos - PinterestLampada OK by Konstantin Grcic for Flos - Pinterest

Designed by Konstantin Grcic, this extraordinary model is composed by a suspended LED lamp, fixed to a box that contains the switch which is equipped with soft touch technology. The lamp slides vertically on a steel cable thanks to a metal counterweight.

Modern indoor lamps


Elastica, the LED floor lamp by Habits for Martinelli Luce, is probably the most ingenious of all the models presented in this article.

Elastica di Habits per Martinelli Luce - PinterestElastica by Habits for Martinelli Luce - Pinterest

It consists of a strip of elastic fabric, which is actually available in many different colors, whose particularity is to adapt to various heights and turn on and off only by pulling it.

Algorithm di Toan Nguyen per Vibia - PinterestAlgorithm by Toan Nguyen for Vibia - Pinterest

We live in the era of algorithms and because of this it's not a surprise that a modern lamp was actually inspired by them.
Algorithm by Toan Nguyen for Vibia is a lamp of blown glass spheres suspended at different heights that are anchored to the ceiling through a floating tubular structure, following the desired graphic pattern.

Moon di Davide Groppi - PinterestMoon by Davide Groppi - Pinterest

Davide Groppi offers many wonderful solutions to his clients but, among all of them, we would like to talk abot the Moon pendant lamp in Japanese paper that brings the moon into your home.

Neuro di Davide Groppi - PinterestNeuro by Davide Groppi - Pinterest

Another lamp by the same designer is Neuro, which imitates old electrical systems and brings the light wherever you want, simply by modeling the cable.

Lady Galala per interni di Martinelli Luce - PinterestLady Galala for interiors by Peluffo & Partners Architettura for Martinelli Luce - Pinterest

Last in chronological order is Lady Galala by Martinelli Luce and the designers Peluffo & Partners Architettura, with an aluminum structure and methacrylate diffusers.

It consists of three different conical diffusers with various colors and sizes.
It has the characteristic of being iridescent.


Sustainable design lighting


Let's also take a look at the most amazing and latest sustainable design solutions.

Wood Lamp di TAF Architects per Muuto - PinterestWood Lamp by TAF Architects for Muuto - Pinterest

Among these stands out Wood Lamp by TAF Architects produced by Muuto in 2010.
It is an all-wood lamp, where the main material is actually raw and in contrast to the other increasingly hi-tech desk lamps.

The only metallic notes are the screws, which are deliberately left exposed.

We could say that this model is a supporter of slow-life, since this lamp has no springs to move to change its orientation: in order to do it the user must unscrew and screw it.

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