Mid Twentieth century lamps, born out of the pencil of the greatest masters, are considered real cornerstones in the history of industrial design. They are loved and collected by all the “design addicted”, thanks to their out of time shapes (often visionary for the era in which they were created and therefore still considered very up-to-date), their extreme functionality and that typical charm all designer objects have.
Unparalleled long sellers, they have adapted to the technological evolution through new LED versions, new materials and production methods, while still keeping faithful to the aesthetics that made them immediately famous.
Sometimes, the evergreens of lighting are the object of calibrated restyling for limited editions, “renewed” through the use of color or special details.
Here’s our ranking of 5 revamped historical lamps that hit the mark.
On the occasion of the last Salone del Mobile, Flos surprised us all by launching Arco K, a new limited edition version of only 2022 pieces of the iconic ground lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni.
Arco is one of the most famous pieces of modern design and it has (literally) revolutionized the way we can light dining room tables and living rooms, eliminating the constraint of ceiling light points. Born in 1962, the original version of this historical lamp has a Carrara marble base with a hole where you can insert a broomstick to move it from room to room in an intuitive and playful way. Practicality of use and fun were two fundamental aspects of the Castiglioni brothers’ work. Exactly fifty years after its original launch on the market its foundation changes, turning into a perfectly transparent crystal block. The new material embodies the needs of contemporary times: it is elegant, refined but also technical and, above all, it does not contain lead and it is completely recyclable. For the rest, the project is unchanged from the original version: the stem is a metal profile with a U section, adjustable in three different positions. The light source is a bulb inserted into a semi-silver cap consisting of a solid part and a perforated part combined, designed by the Castiglioni to let the light source heat disperse and cast a decorative shadow in the room.
The little Eclisse by Artemide remains faithful to the original design but “sheds its skin”. Designed in 1965 by Vico Magistretti and immediately produced by Artemide, next to its classic liveries of white, black, red and the special yellow one, it is now available in four new versions in environmentally friendly metallic materials. The genius of Eclisse lies in the possibility of being able to “regulate” the amount of light produced by rotating the small hemisphere in the top part top of this historical lamp, kind of a small scale simulation of the astronomical event from which it takes its name. The project, inspired by the lantern described by Victor Hugo in “Les Miserables” and hastily drawn on an underground ticket by Magistretti, immediately hit Ernesto Gismondi, founder of Artemide, who at the time was searching for a lamp that could provide both a dim or strong light for the bedroom, the bedside table or the wall.
The new PVD Eclisse introduces the small lamp in a shimmering garment: chrome, gold, copper and black are the shades obtained with its innovative Physical Vapor Deposition system, which reduces the use of chemical solvents in the painting phase by 70%, eliminating production waste.
The Colombo 281 table lamp is the first project by Joe Colombo for Oluce, the only time he four-handedly worked with his brother Gianni on a project. The model, introduced for the first time in 1962, was nicknamed Acrylic to recall its main material and its extraordinary application. Already used in lighting technology for about a decade but only to create lampshades with cut or thermoformed sheets, the methacrylate got exploited by the Colombo brothers in an innovative and certainly visionary way. The shape and the relevant thickness of the curve that makes up this historical lamp allows, thanks to the properties of conduction, the light of a fluorescent bulb, contained inside the painted steel base, to ascend along the transparent body of the lamp to illuminate its head. In 2022, on the occasion of its 60th anniversary, Acrilica is offered in a special version with a precious base in Portoro marble.
Designed by Gio Ponti in 1957 and exhibited that same year at the Milan Triennale inside the Construction Buildings Pavilion, the Luna never went into production. Tato, specialized in lamps masrerpeace remake, had recently recovered sketches and notes from the archives of the Master. In their catalog they offer two versions of Luna, a suspended one and a ground one with horizontal or vertical orientation. Its structure is in brass, the diffuser in a plastic material. Along with its original white coloring Tato has introduced the white/blue and white/orange variants for the countertop version and the white/gray one for the chandelier, colors born from the in-depth study of the work of Ponti.
Designed in 1958, the PH 5 suspension lamp is one of the most iconic pieces by the Danish brand Louis Poulsen. Sold in millions of copies in dozens of different colors, today it’s introduced in a raw version that is born out of the concept of upcycling, recovering vintage or imperfect chandeliers. The transition process into the PH model 5 Retake involves removing the paint from the suspension to bring out the raw appearance of the aluminum screens and the lower steel screens. The metal dry paints on drily through the use of special paints that allow the surface to develop an elegant patina over time. This historical lamp then comes out of the process as completely reconverted and updated with the latest LED technology.