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Design Focus: George Nelson Bubble Lamps

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Oct 19, 2015 01:01 AM
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by Promila Shastri last modified Oct 18, 2015

If the word iconic is thrown around a little too liberally these days, the Bubble Lamps created by George Nelson’s New York City design studio 70 years ago are ever present reminders of just what that overused designation means. Staples of Mid Century Modern interiors, Bubble Lamps—graceful, gentle, refined, and faintly celestial—are amongst the few design objects that are […]




 

 

George Nelson Bubble Lamp CollectionIf the word iconic is thrown around a little too liberally these days, the Bubble Lamps created by George Nelson’s New York City design studio 70 years ago are ever present reminders of just what that overused designation means. Staples of Mid Century Modern interiors, Bubble Lamps—graceful, gentle, refined, and faintly celestial—are amongst the few design objects that are viscerally tied to a specific era, while managing to maintain visual relevance in any era—the true definition of an icon, one could argue. Interior-styling-Marcus-Hay-studio-6

One of the leading figures of American Modernism—his compatriots were Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi—George Nelson was an architect whose legacy is tied to innovative modernist objects. Furniture, lighting, and clocks—along with seminal writings and a stint as Editor of Architectural Forum magazine—made Nelson an influential design voice in the American post-war period, and George Nelson Bubble Lamps remain among the designer’s most identifiable contributions. Conceived in 1947, the collection, a collaborative product of Nelson’s design studio, was created for Howard Miller, the clock maker who marketed Nelson’s many decorative clock designs—themselves Modernist emblems—and who produced the Bubble Lamps exclusively, until Modernism’s fondness for simplicity fell out of fashion in the 1970s, giving way to the more opulent 1980s.

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