There are certain pieces of furniture that have paved the way for the interior design world and will always stand the test of time: the Egg Chair, the Barcelona chair and the Arco Floor Lamp, just to name a few. And lucky for us, one of these modern favorites has found its way into our office. University of Cincinnati student Alison Donner spent the last quarter in the HGTV Home Studio co-op program working with top HGTV design experts to create an interactive exhibit that focuses on an iconic, 20th-century interior design trend: George Nelson Bubble Lamps. Find out what Alison has to say about these iconic lamps and bringing them into your home.
In 1947, George Nelson designed the Bubble Lamps as a substitute to more expensive silk lamps. The plastic was less expensive than the silk material and safer than using paper, so he covered a steel frame with the plastic material and the Bubble Lamp was born.
“I was really drawn to the Bubble Lamps because they are so versatile, and timeless. They work in so many room types and styles. Bubble Lamps are a fun way to add design to a room,” Alison says.
The Bubble Lamp may represent a mid-century modern style, but it’s certainly not limited to that particular design style. “The variety of shapes and sizes make the lamps appropriate for many sizes and styles of rooms. More simple shapes, such as the ball, work perfectly in a traditional space, while more funky shapes, such as the propeller, work great in a modern space,” Alison says.
Alison wanted to ensure that people were not only learning all about George Nelson’s lamps, but that they were learning how to properly light their homes, too.
“One of the best general lighting tips I can give is to use multiple light sources for a variety of light in one space. Instead of just using a pendant over a table, wash an adjacent wall with light as well, and possibly some floor lamps or sconces nearby,” she says. “Having different light sources will create a variety of light, as well as create light contrast that is pleasing and interesting to the eye.”
“Lighting should be a fun additive to a space, not an afterthought. Many times, lighting can be the last thing you think of when putting together a space. Using a lamp as a statement can really help build the space from the beginning,” she says.
To Alison, a small design detail — like the Bubble Lamp — should be incorporated from the beginning of the design process to really make the space come to life. “Sure, a room can be well-designed without a lamp, but when you add the perfect lamp, the space really comes to life. Whether it is the perfect hanging lamp, or the design on a plate you want to use, starting to think of these things from the beginning of the design will result in a truly cohesive and warm space.”
What do you think about George Nelson’s iconic Bubble Lamps? Would you add them in your living room or above your dining table?
Tell us in the comments below.