10 Desk Lamps: Iconic, Functional for Home and Office

Explore a selection of 10 desk lamps that blend iconic design with maximum functionality for any setting, from home to office.

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Highlights

Essential for work, whether at home or in the office, desk lamps help maintain concentration and reduce eye strain. Crucial for proper lighting, they complement ambient lighting with a precise flow, turned on as needed. Everything starts with correct desk placement, ideally parallel to a natural light source (window) to prevent reflections or shadows from the body.

How to choose your ideal Desk Lamp

While style is a matter of personal taste, performance is an objective criterion for choosing a good desk lamp. A high-performing product should be dimmable and adjustable, with a height-adjustable arm to direct light where needed and avoid annoying reflections on the computer screen. The light source, ideally LED, should have a high colour rendering index and a neutral to cool colour temperature, recommended for enhancing concentration and performance (while warm light helps relaxation).

Innovation and technology in Desk Lamps

Richard Sapper’s engineering background shines through in his desk lamps, the iconic Tizio by Artemide with a perfect counterweight system in the catalogue for over 50 years, and Halley by Stilnovo, reissued in 2023. Designed in 2011 by the duo Rizzatto-Meda and becoming an instant classic, Otto Watt by Luceplan delivers all the performances of a perfect desk light.

Design Icons: the most beloved Desk Lamps

The undisputed queen of desk lamps is the Anglepoise 1227, born in 1935 and the mascot for a film production company (as well as all architects!) for its spring system and vaguely anthropomorphic appearance. Also famous is its derivative, the Tolomeo by Artemide, now a pop icon available in dozens of colours, including fluorescent shades for those who dare. Finally, among the best-known designer desk lamps, one cannot fail to mention the AJ. Originally designed by Arne Jacobsen for a Copenhagen hotel in 1957, it became a fundamental part of the Louis Poulsen catalogue with its slightly asymmetrical lampshade, truly unmistakable.

1. Tizio - Artemide

Richard Sapper in 1972 and is still considered a small engineering masterpiece today. Made of over 100 pieces, it has a two-arm structure in metal reinforced with fibreglass; thanks to a series of counterweights the lamp offers versatile adjustability, allowing it to be positioned at varying heights and angles. The parts are pressure-fitted without the use of screws; if dropped, the connections detach without breaking and can be easily reinstalled without tools.

1. Tizio by Artemide

2. Kelvin Edge - Flos

2. Kelvin Edge by Flos​

The futuristic look signed by Antonio Citterio makes this adjustable light incredibly lightweight. The body is painted or chromed aluminium, with a die-cast head, joints, forks, and extruded arms; the LED light source is dimmable in three steps for perfect visual comfort when working on a monitor or reading.

3. AJ Table - Louis Poulsen

Originally designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1957 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, this classic lamp features a distinctive cap that has become a hallmark of Jacobsen’s design elegance. It belongs to a large family that includes everything from wall to floor lamps. In its tabletop release, the AJ lamp faithfully reproduces its distinctive silhouette and is available in various colours, ranging from soft pastels to vibrant hues. The light emission is downward, and the inner screen – painted white to ensure a more diffuse and comfortable lighting – is adjustable.

3. AJ Table by Louis Poulsen

4. Untitled Mini Spot - NEMO

Slim but powerful NEMO is a clean and essential sign, with miniaturized joints allowing extreme movement flexibility. The body is in aluminium, the base in technopolymer, always in black. Design by Bernhard Osann.

4. Untitled Mini Spot by NEMO

5. Original 1277 - Anglepoise

5. Original 1277 by Anglepoise

The vaguely anthropomorphic spring silhouette of this desk lamp is the same that bounces on the logo of a famous film production company. Launched in 1935, it’s a desk evergreen, now also available in a mini version with more compact dimensions.

6. Halley - Stilnovo

Reissued in 2023, this desk lamp by Richard Sapper is a play of counterweights, an orbital structure allowing any movement thanks to six joints that rotate 360° each. The sphere acts as a balancer for the entire weight of the device, ensuring stability. Available in black or anodized silver.

6. Halley by Stilnovo

7. Apex Desk Clip - Hay

7. Apex Desk Clip by Hay

Its unique feature is the clamp that attaches to the desk or table surface. Its clean design with a steel lampshade resembles a sloping roof, which betrays its Northern European origins. The LED source is non-dimmable, with a chromed stem.

8. Goldman - Flos

Inspired by the lamps of old libraries, it simplifies the look and renews the materials with an aluminum structure, an external diffuser in transparent methacrylate, and a LED diffuser in opaline polycarbonate. It also features a technological heart, incorporating a USB socket for the charging of electronic devices. Design by Ron Gilad.

8. Goldman by Flos

9. Otto Watt - Luceplan

9. Otto Watt by Luceplan​

A reinterpretation of the classic spring lamp by Paolo Rizzatto and Alberto Meda, it features a dimmable LED source that rotates 360 degrees. Available in finishes of white, black soft-touch, and mirror.

10. Tolomeo Micro - Artemide

Designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina, this lamp emerges as an icon of pop lighting, distinguished by its extensive colour palette. Featuring a spring balancing system, it seamlessly integrates into any environment, from traditional to contemporary. Crafted with a polished aluminium base and a movable arm, the joints and supports of the lamp boast a luminous aluminium finish, which enhances its aesthetics and functionality.

10. Tolomeo Micro by Artemide​

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