Design by Decade – 1920s Lighting at Lightology

Sounds of jazz drifting down busy streets, the scent of automobile exhaust, and glamorous, fresh styles welcomed men and women to the 1920s. Change came from every direction during this “roaring” period. Significant economic growth led to excess and luxury in everything from radios to clothes to the lighting that enhanced home décor.

Moving away from the dramatic curves of Art Nouveau and the masculine industrial styles of turn-of-the-century America, the 1920s saw the emergence of two powerful design movements that influenced art, architecture, fashion, design, and décor (including lighting): Bauhaus (1919-1933) and Art Deco (1925-1941).

The Bauhaus school in Germany, which combined the study of art, architecture, and design into one multidisciplinary approach, had an incredible and lasting influence on the world of design from its inception. The movement aimed to cultivate architecture and design objects that were highly functional while issuing the bare minimum in ornamentation. The concept was to maintain some creativity but stressed intellectualism, industrialism, and practicality. (Bauhaus should not be confused with Minimalism, which can actually impede performance for the sake of allure.)

Heavily influenced by the machine age and modern art, 1920s design and architecture also saw the birth of Art Deco, which essentially blended traditional and modern elements. The resulting style emphasized geometric and angular shapes, soft curves, intricate floral patterns, and shiny new materials like chrome.




IC Wall Sconce/Ceiling Semi Flush Mount by Flos Lighting


IC Wall Sconce/Ceiling Semi-Flush Mount by Flos Lighting

The IC wall sconce and ceiling semi flush mount borrows from the Bauhaus principle of minimum ornamentation, and its circular, frosted globe would be at home in the 1920s designscape. The light is modest, almost anti-ornamental, giving the impression of being hand crafted when actually mass manufactured. Its simple, spherical form has been given a contemporary update, offset by the angular metal arms in brushed gold.




Bruno Adjustable C Arm Table Lamp by Robert Abbey


Bruno Adjustable C Arm Table Lamp by Robert Abbey

A perfect example of Bauhaus design principles in action, the Bruno table lamp is simple and doesn’t impose. The head of the lamp is wide and highly functional – allowing for optimal light distribution (or as optimal as possible from a traditional incandescent bulb). While the design appears somewhat plain, its industrial appearance alone gives it visual appeal without demanding attention.




Simple Lines 107050 Chandelier by Hubbardton Forge


Simple Lines 107050 Chandelier by Hubbardton Forge

This chandelier is accurately named due to its simplicity and borrows some elements from Bauhaus. Its form appears somewhat industrial and surely practical; however, it does maintain a touch of creativity with its warmly colored candelabra light bulbs.




Scudo Saraceno Classic Ceiling Flush Mount by Venetia Studium


Scudo Saraceno Classic Ceiling Flush Mount by Venetia Studium

This flush mount ceiling light has a certain Art Deco feel. Although the pattern is not floral per se, the design is noticeably intricate as well as extravagant and bold. Its bronze finish is a popular choice for the 1920s, and its silk shade provides a fanciful appearance, appropriate for the decade. Unlike Bauhaus style, the Scudo Saraceno draws attention to itself especially with the addition tassel that hangs from the fixture.




Innovations Linear Suspension by Glow Lighting



Innovations Linear Suspension by Glow Lighting

The Innovations Linear Suspension recalls elements of 1920s design and Art Deco concepts. With its elongated rectangular form, shiny chrome finish, and lavish cascade of beaded crystals ending in geometric, angular crystals, Innovations is a visual embodiment of the 1920s transition from traditional to modern.




Valenzia Ceiling Semi Flush Mount by Artcraft



Valenzia Ceiling Semi Flush Mount by Artcraft

Lastly, the Valenzia speaks to the essence of the 1920s and even reminds us of the outgoing attitude of a flapper girl. Its chrome finish, luxurious dangling jewelry, and off-white, silk shade encompass the elegance and spontaneity of the decade.



Top Sellers

Scudo Saraceno Silk Ceiling Light

Scudo Saraceno Silk Ceiling Light
by Venetia Studium
$1,871

IC Wall / Ceiling Light

IC Wall / Ceiling Light
by Flos Lighting
$595 - $695

Dioscuri Wall / Ceiling Light

Dioscuri Wall / Ceiling Light
by Artemide
$310 - $510