It’s been over 100 years since the electric light first became available at Heal’s. Over the last century we have subsequently seen a plethora of innovative lighting designs land on the market. Some have been forgotten by time, but many are still crafted today. We’ve selected ten of our favourite iconic lights that, above all, we believe demonstrate ingenuity and timeless design.
By Verner Panton for Verpan
Sketches found in Verner Panton’s archive inspired the release of this classic design. Despite only entering production in recent years, the Reflect Table Lamp itself dates back to 1980. One of the most significantly important elements is the way Panton’s unique approach to colour and form are immediately recognisable.
Seen in homes across the globe, the Arco Floor Lamp is, above all, a mid-century masterpiece. An urban streetlight reportedly inspired Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni to create the design. However, the luxurious marble base and gracefully curving silhouette couldn’t be further from the streets.
By Kenneth Grange for Anglepoise
Sir Kenneth Grange’s 75 Desk Lamp is a modern reinterpretation of the classic Anglepoise light from the 1970s. As a result, the functional lamp will delight generations to come. Furthermore, throughout the years world-renowned designers such as Margaret Howell and Paul Smith have reimagined the iconic light.
By George Nelson for Herman Miller
A true mid-century design, George Nelson originally designed the Bubble Pendant Series in 1952. The design was inspired by a series of Swedish lamps draped in silk. As a result of their iconic status, the lights hold a place in the permanent collection at New York’s MoMA.
By Isamu Noguchi for Vitra
Dating back to 1951, the Akari Light Sculptures are timeless luminaires by Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi. The lanterns that accompany fishermen during nights on the Nagara River inspired the iconic lights. Above all, artisans handcraft each light in the nearby town of Gifu using traditional washi paper.
By Greta M. Grossman for Gubi
Pioneering lighting designer Greta M. Grossman created the Gräshoppa Floor Light in 1947. The iconic design takes its name from the way it resembles a grasshopper stalking its prey. Above all, Grossman is considered a central figure of mid-century design, having found her place in the male dominated industry. In addition, she is also credited with bringing the modern Scandinavian aesthetic to California.
By Omer Arbel for Bocci
This future classic presents a wholehearted celebration of traditional glassblowing. That is to say, each orb is meticulously handcrafted to lend it a completely unique finish. We love this design so much we chose it to illuminate the Brewer Staircase at our Tottenham Court Road store.
By Louis Weisdorf for Gubi
Louis Weisdorf created the Multi-Lite Pendant in 1972, a period widely considered the golden era of Danish design. Most significantly, the pendant marks Louis Weisdorf’s move away from his standard design practices in favour of a diverse aesthetic. The light is consequently celebrated for its timeless expression and versatility.
By Robert Dudley Best for Gubi
The BL5 is one of the world’s most iconic lights. Designed during the end of the Bauhaus era, the light has been in continuous production since 1930. At first the BL5 was preferred by garages and engineers thanks to its adjustability. It subsequently grew more popular and Winston Churchill reportedly chose a Bestlite for his desk.
By Verner Panton for Verpan
Above all, a bell-like shape and minimalist base define Verner Panton’s Pantop Table Lamp. The instantly recognisable light first entered production in 1980 but is crafted today by Verpan. Panton’s belief in the unlimited possibility of design certainly helped to inspire this iconic light.