Sunday, December 7, 2014

mid-century modern LIGHTING

Mid-century lighting was out of this world!

The United States was looking past the sky, and into outer space.  It was the Cold War and the Space Race was in full gear.  President Kennedy shared that NASA will get a man on the moon.  The skies were no longer the limit, and the world was fascinated.  

"The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space."  President John F. Kennedy, Moon Speech, Rice Stadium, September 12, 1962.

In a post-war society materials were also limited.  Scarcity triggered creativity and resourceful design.  Mid-century light fixtures have clean, geometric lines and forms.  Excess frills were left by the wayside.  Forms transferred into sculpture.  Lighting was a beautiful thing to look at, and still is!  Shapes were inspired by flying saucers, speed of space ships, hour glass, spheres, and rings like planets in space.

George Nelson and his Bubble Lamps, Interior Design Magazine 1952

1950's advertisement with a Bubble-lamp

Although this imaged looks a bit staged, it's still appealing over fifty years later.  The Bubble-lamp can mix with transitional styles as well because of it's simple form.

The Atomic light is a great focal point in this eclectic living room!  The fixture has a sphere at the center, and metal tubing radiates out in all directions.  Small bulbs burn bright at the end of each piece.  This should remind you of chemistry class when you learned about protons and neutrons.  Isn't it stellar?

This mini pendent was just too cute, I had to share it with you.  It looks like something that you would see at the Jetsons house, doesn't it?  

(This was designed by Louis Poulsen in collaboration with the Navy Buildings Department in the 1950s.  The design provided directional light, as well as a softer ambient light.  The Navy Pedant was discontinued in the 1980s, but has returned in updated colors for the 21st century, now called the Doo-Wop)

This task light just exudes speed...ZOOM!  It reminds me of a shuttle bursting into outer space.

Poul Henningsen (PH) worked with Louis Poulsen through the 1960s.  Henningsen designed the three shade system in 1925-26, but it fits perfectly into the mid-century modern style.  This system focused light to where it was needed- a task lamp.  Its directional light was ideal for rooms with high ceilings, or shown here for a dining room.  The fixtures were made of metal, and painted white on the underside (shown above.) Today, there are 19 options to choose from, including glass.

I hope you learned something new about a style that is favored by so many people today.  Most of you are probably familiar with this style from your childhood, thinking about your grandparents'  house, or even watching the popular show "Mad Men."

So, which Mid-century modern light fixture sparks your interest?

PS...If you missed the last post, sign-up & GIVEAWAY, be sure to subscribe by email in the right column.  You will be automatically entered into the giveaway taking place next week.  Then leave me a comment for which collection you would like if you are a winner~


Mid-century design motifs: Collectors Weekly


  1. These fixtures and furnishings are exactly what I grew up with in my parents' home. Fun flashback to the '50's.

    1. Exactly! These period furnishings bring a real sense of nostalgia to so many people


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