Design by Decade – 1930s Lighting at Lightology

In the midst of the Great Depression, 1930s America was full of contradictions. A climate of uncertainty drew out extremes. A strong desire to escape back to a more traditional past did not dampen hope for a brighter, more exciting future. The 1920s saw the birth of Art Deco and the proliferation of Bauhaus design, while the 1930s saw a kind of marriage of the two styles in Art Moderne. Applying minimalist Bauhaus principles to the Art Deco aesthetic, Art Moderne stripped away nonessential ornamentation to create a more streamlined evolution of Art Deco. Geometric shapes became more prominent. The ‘30s brought a new perspective – art had finally found light. The world of lighting was finally beginning to be seen not merely for functional purposes but for its many design possibilities.




Bilia Table Lamp by Fontana Art (1931)


Bilia Table Lamp by Fontana Arte

It doesn’t get more Art Moderne than this. Designed by Gio Ponti for Fontana Arte in 1931, the Bilia table lamp is stripped of all embellishment to reveal its basic geometric building blocks: a globe atop a cone. Although free of adornment and artfully restrained, Bilia is highly indulgent nonetheless—an exploration of design for its own sake. Bare and mechanical, yet undeniably artistic and far ahead of its time, the Bilia is as relevant today as when it was first created.




Middleburry Pendant from Hudson Valley Lighting


Middlebury Pendant by Hudson Valley Lighting

Sleek and elegant, the Middlebury pendant’s cog-like edges are reminiscent of the Machine Age (at its height in the ‘20s and ‘30s). With the glossiness of a brand new, polished machine, Middlebury embraces Art Moderne’s emphasis on slick, shiny surfaces. The pendant’s mechanical qualities speak to the Age’s belief in modernity and productivity.




Muse Semi-Flush from Corbett Lighting


Muse Semi-Flush from Corbett Lighting

In the 1930s, many architects and designers were fascinated by rising levels, much like a stairway. The Muse semi-flush mount speaks to this idea with its many layers, also giving it an organized aesthetic. Here we can see a greater emphasis on the artistic elements of the fixture instead of its utility. The precision-curved edges and tiered geometric forms give the Muse a distinct sense of motion. Although very much a modern creation, the Muse ceiling light embodies 1930s design to a T.




Brubeck LED Suspension by Delightfull


Brubeck LED Suspension by Delightfull

Art Deco and Art Moderne were not the only movements that affected style in the ‘30s. Jazz music was both a reflection of and an influence on the culture of the time. At the same time, a global musical subculture dedicated to the revival of the pipe organ began to evolve. The Brubeck suspension by Delightfull is inspired by both the bold confidence of brash jazz and the noble elegance of the pipe organ, bringing the sonic spirit of the 1930s to your space.




Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamp by Anglepoise (1934)



Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamp by Anglepoise

Developed in England in the early 30s by G. Carwardine, the 1227 Anglepoise is a departure from our Art Moderne theme. Auto engineer George Carwardine originally designed the springs for vehicle suspension, as they maintained a fixed position when released. This concept was integrated into the Anglepoise task lamp, and the rest is history. Mechanical and efficient, these were the first lamps that could be positioned to direct light exactly where needed, making them ideal for all kinds of tasks. The lamp was originally marketed for industrial purposes (think assembly-line workers) but soon spread to homes and offices to help with reading, writing, and more. Anglepoise is a true pairing of art and science.




0024 Suspension by Fontana Arte (1931)



0024 Suspension by Fontana Arte

Another bold Gio Ponti creation that broke design barriers and challenged conventions of the time, the 0024 Suspension is nothing if not unique. A hyper-in-depth exploration of geometric form, the tiered cross-sections of this sphere impose hierarchy and structure upon a usually seamless, infinite object. Born in the ‘30s, the 0024 Suspension stands apart from other designs of the time as an ingenious vision of the future.



Top Sellers

Middlebury Pendant

Middlebury Pendant
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Brubeck Round Suspension

Brubeck Round Suspension
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Erlenmeyer ADA Wall Light

Erlenmeyer ADA Wall Light
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