Lightbulb moments: three of the funkiest design classic lamps

Livingetc presents its favourite classic light designs

At Livingetc, we are passionate about design classics, and are fervant fighters in the battle against reproduction furniture; no copy can ever possess the elegance and beauty of the original. Here we present a little insight into the history behind three of our favourite lighting masterpieces… Enjoy!

Snoopy lamp

Designers Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, 1967.

Details Marble, glass and enamelled steel table lamp in Black, £596, Flos.

Background Much like the button-nosed cult character who inspired it, the Castiglionis’ Snoopy lamp will instantly light up any room. This iconic piece of Sixties design was first reintroduced in 2003 with a touch-sensor dimmer, but its original cool vibe has remained very much intact. Featured in design museums worldwide, the table lamp’s direct light is spread via a thick glass disc on the underside and diffused via the enamelled reflector. And, like its enigmatic cartoon counterpart, this Snoopy prefers a dramatic mod monochrome look, boasting a gorgeous white Carrara marble base and glossy black shade. The extraordinary, carefree shape will make any interior swing like the Sixties.

265 wall light

Designer Paolo Rizzatto, 1973.

Details Adjustable steel, chrome and iron wall light, available in Black, Grey or White, £615, Flos.

Background One of the first Milanese-trained architects to turn his hand to product design, Paolo Rizzatto conceived this elegant, perfectly balanced light fitting to be equally at home over a table setting, in a living area or above a bed. Pivoting on a wall bracket, the 265 is the quintessential fusion of form and function, adding to the overall look of a scheme, while never becoming the focus of attention. Omni-directional, it moves effortlessly around a space, casting a pool of light over objects great and small. Ideal for use as a reading light or a spot lamp, the 265 became the prototype for several of Rizzatto’s later products, many of which were designed for his own lighting company Luceplan, which he launched along with fellow architects Riccardo Sarfatti and Sandra Severi in 1978. A selection of Rizzatto’s designs is now housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and London’s V&A, so if you splash out on a 265, you can rest easy knowing you’ve added something truly iconic to your space.

Luxus table lamp

Designer Christian Dell, 1931.

Details Chrome-plated steel and brass table lamp embossed with the words Original Kaiser-idell, Fritz Hansen for Republic of Fritz Hansen.

Background If the true test of a classic is that it looks as contemporary as the day it was first shipped out of the factory, then the Kaiser idell Luxus passes the test. Sleek, curvy and covetable, it was designed by German silversmith Christian Dell, foreman of the metal workshop in the legendary Bauhaus School at Weimar (where he worked until he was sacked by the National Socialists). Dell is credited with single-handedly inventing the shape of the modern office lamp and who is going to argue with that? This baby was designed after the school was shut down, but still embodies the Bauhaus aesthetic for mass-produced design – distinctively clean and über-functional.
Its name derives in part from the factory where it was first manufactured
(Gebr. Kaiser & Co in northwest Germany) and from a mix of Dell’s own name with a play on the German word for idea, idee.
So now you know. It’s available in several versions – pendant and floor lamps, for example – but this, the crouching, domed table lamp is the one to go for.

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