August 16, 2018

Design by Decade – 1980s

The 1980s conjure many things for many people: New wave, big hair, bright colors and high glam. In the world of design, much of the ‘80s aesthetic owes itself to the budding Memphis movement from Milan, spawned by prolific designer Ettore Sottsass and carried through in every geometric shape, bold pattern and lively color. A polarizing era with ideas abound, here’s our wrap up of some of the best fixtures to emerge during this like totally tubular decade.





1980
Tokio by Asahara Shiegeo for Stilnovo

The Tokio Table Lamp is a timeless fixture designed by Asahara Shigeaki for Italian lighting manufacturer, Stilnovo. The lamp is highly adjustable with a maximum height of 64 centimeters. Featuring a mailbox-like shade supported by four adjustable arms, allowing the lamp is capable of moving in all directions. With a dimmer and sliding switch cleverly concealed within the base, Tokio lamps are perfect atop home offices and work desks alike.


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1980
Delta Torchiere Floor Lamp by Piotr Sierakowski for Koch + Lowy

Designed by Piotr Sierakowski for Koch + Lowy, the Delta Torchiere Floor Lamp remains a Memphis Milano design classic. Featuring a black or white finish, the Delta artfully ties any room together. With a slender frame, these lamps can make a home just about anywhere – place it in reading nooks, small home offices and more.


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1981
Callimaco Ettore Sottsass by Artemide

Hailing from the early days of Memphis design, Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass set out to capture the essence of a vintage Luminator and column with Callimaco. Pops of color and a whimsical approach to scale highlight key Memphis Group ideas, refined and revised over the next decade.


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1981
Tahiti by Ettore Sottsass

A colorful icon from the early days of Memphis, the Tahiti lamp from prolific Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass set the tone for what was to become postmodernism. Zoomorphic in nature, thanks to its bird-like appearance, Tahiti plays with bright colors, basic geometric shapes and squiggle patterns to create something that embodies the spirit of Memphis design - fun and playful with an edge of sophistication.


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1981
Treetops by Ettore Sottsass

Curved, colorful and oh so geometric, the Treetops floor lamp from Ettore Sottsass embodies everything the Memphis movement was about - a rejection of traditional bourgeois design and culture. Influenced by the Radical Design movement from 60s and 70s Italy, Treetops boldly carries that torch forward into the 80s while evolving into something even more modern.


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1981
Ashoka by Ettore Sottsass

Perhaps the most Memphis lamp on the market, Ashoka drew inspiration from ancient legend and ritual, something designer Ettore Sottsass dabbled in thanks to his world travels. In fact, Ashoka was an ancient Indian emperor. The color, scale and cartoonish-nature create a whimsy that only the eighties could produce. At almost three feet tall, it's much larger than it appears, designed in Sottsass's "cactus" and "totem" substyles found throughout much of his furniture.


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1982
Aurora Pendant by Perry King and Santiago Miranda for Arteluce

Designed by Perry King and Santiago Miranda, the Aurora Pendant for Arteluce provides direct, diffused light from a suspended disk comprised of a pair of textured glass plates which sandwich a carbon fiber disk. One of the most popular fixtures of the decade, the Aurora’s transformer is held in the dome ceiling cap and holds the suspension wires, which are height adjustable to ensure flexibility.


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1982
Halo There Pendant by Olle Andersson for Boren

Designed by Olle Andersson for Swedish manufacturer, Boren, the Halo There Pendant won the “Excellent Swedish Design” award in 1982 and has since remained a favorite among designers and homeowners alike. This fixture represents a unique marriage of the DeStiji and Post Modern aesthetics. A forward thinking design, this fixture is held in collections at both the Swedish National and Rohss museum.


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1983
Pausania Table Lamp by Ettore Sottsass for Artemide

The Pausania Table Lamp highlights the aesthetic of renowned Memphis-style designer, Ettore Sottsass. Designed in 1983, the Pausania adds a touch of playful aesthetics to contemporary interiors all while remaining highly sophisticated. The re-edition of the fixture features new tunable white technology which enables numerous color temperatures to suit your environment. With a body in black resin with a green diffuser, the Pausania is perfect for your home office.


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1983
Saturn Table Lamp by Robert Sonneman for George Kovacs

Designed by Robert Sonneman for George Kovacs, the Saturn Table Lamp features a polished zinc base with brass rods and a glass Saturn style top. When lit, the light reflects throughout the glass, creating a stunning look – perfect for home offices and bedside tables.


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1983
Bay Table Lamp by Ettore Sottsass

Repeating geometric shapes in bold, neon colors make the Bay table lamp from Ettore Sottsass one to remember. A cleaned up fixture - for the Memphis era - Bay blends glass, aluminum and plexiglass with stunning results, channeling the shapes and symmetry of Art Deco but with the colors and materials pulled straight from the eighties.


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1986
Costanza by Paolo Rizzato For LucePlan

Paolo Rizzatto’s work is characterized by a great balance between tradition and innovation, timeless forms that are at once timeless and timely. The Costanza lamp is that quintessential form, refined and polished for a modern era. A variety of color options carried the fixture distinctly into the ‘80s without feeling too timestamped.


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1987
Tolomeo Classic Desk Lamp by Artemide

Perhaps the most flexible desk lamp on the market, even today, Tolomeo quickly became a bestseller for Artemide. Relying on the technology of the time, Lucchi and Fassina were able to create something modern, sophisticated, lightweight and flexible, becoming the litmus test many of today’s desk lamps measure up to.


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1989
Titania For LucePlan

The ecliptic Titania is a vision of ‘80s futurism: Sleek, computer-generated, abstract. 17 aluminum ellipses reflect light, floating effortlessly overhead in perfectly aligned slats. In the words of Alberto Meda “I am interested in technology because it seems to be the contemporary expression of man’s imagination.” Meda’s vision of the future couldn’t be more clear.


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1980s-Inspired Designs

Junit Record Pendant
by Schneid
$395
Flamingo Neon Desk Light
by Amped & Co
$70
Cindy Table Lamp
by Kartell
$355
I Volti, Due Art Print
by Danese Milano
$405 - $1,015
Orbital Floor Lamp
by Foscarini
$2,131
Junit Mentis Pendant
by Schneid
$395
Cactus Neon Desk Lamp
by Amped & Co
$70
Yoyo Pendant
by Andrew Neyer
$219 - $350
Chess Table
by Moooi
$1,183