Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hanging Around: Imaginative Lighting Designs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

An exhibition of modern and contemporary lighting from the Permanent Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.        

Hanging lamp Birdie by Ingo Maurer.
Birdie, Ingo Maurer. Image: Wikipedia
In the early twentieth century, with the introduction of electric light, designers began to focus on lighting fixtures, hanging lamps among them. Interest in lighting design experienced a particular surge in the decades after World War II, when many young artists, the American George Nelson among them, responded to a demand for fixtures that were both functional and modern in their aesthetic.

In the 1950s, Poul Henningsen, a Danish industrial designer and architect, created a series of hanging lamps that explored a variety of ways of diffusing and reflecting light. His 1958 PH Artichoke lamp is composed of staggered and stacked reflectors in a configuration that resembles, as its name suggests, an artichoke.

Throughout the late twentieth century, designers worked with a range of materials, some of them new, like plastic, and some of them merely low-tech materials adapted to a new purpose. The Italian artist Bruno Munari's Falkland lamp, conceived in 1964, is an elegant undulating column of elasticized fabric.

In more recent years, designers, most notably Ingo Maurer of Germany, have experimented with new lighting technologies. One of Maurer's most technically advanced creations is the 2003 "Wo bist du, Edison(Where Are You, Edison) lamp. It comprises of a 360-degree holographic image of a light bulb projected onto a transparent cylindrical shade, while the actual source of the lamps light is a halogen bulb hanging above the shade, hidden in a socket in the shape of Thomas Edison's profile.

Hanging Around, drawn from the Museum's extensive collection of modern and contemporary design furniture and lighting designs, features more than twenty hanging lamps. The exhibit is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until October 10th.

Above content per the Philadelphia Museum of Art. See for more exhibit details, or other information about the artists and designers represented.

For professional home energy saving advice please visit our other site Home Science. 

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