All The Inspiration You Need To Light Up Your Home

Oscar Wilde once said in one of my favourite quotes “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Those that know me well have heard this over and over when describing the investment and aesthetic benefits of modern classic furniture.

Journalists asking me about the latest trends at the Milan Furniture Fair hear it when I say there are none that interest me, only the classics interest me and more importantly the new designs that are destined to become the modern classics of the future.

Great Design in my book is about timelessness and longevity, it can never be fashionable and must be of a manufactured quality and design that will give pleasure and enjoyment through generations of admirers. The great modern classic designers like Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray, Franco Albini, Charles and Ray Eames, Vico Magistretti have made a massive impact on our lives throughout the 20th century and will continue to do so in the centuries to come. Their furniture designs dominate the design world today and provide continuing inspiration and ideas to the aspiring young designers who wish to follow in their footsteps.

We read a lot about furniture classics and the masters that create them but a lot less is known about their pioneering work in the field of lighting and illumination. I became fascinated when NEMO, a highly innovative Italian lighting manufacturer decided to dedicate itself to recreating authorised reproductions of the world’s lighting classics. In the words of Federico Palazzari, good friend and CEO of NEMO “Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand’s lamps suggest a timeless quality that makes them simple, iconic and always authentic.”

In the main image above, Le Corbusier’s “Projecteur” designed in 1954 for the High Court of Chandigarh, built shortly after India’s independence in 1947 will fit today in any modern home, classic villa or New York style loft and bring a powerful and pleasing aesthetic to the décor. The pure functionality of its industrial origins make it very suitable for commercial interiors as well.


Claritas – As appealing today as it was in 1946. The great Italian post war designer Vico Magistretti, famed for his influential ‘Maralunga’ sofa, wrote -‘The most important thing for me is conceptual simplicity which is usually translated into constructive clarity’ – the Claritas floor lamp, as illustrated alongside his famous Maralunga sofa, embodies this idea with its austerely minimal metal frame and tiny footprint. It also makes it a prefect space creator for a small apartment or office.



Le Corbusier “Parliament – Designed for Chandigarh The “Parliament” Lamp also, designed for the Chandigarh administration features a clever dual adjustable light and shade in bicolour to bring a dramatic ambiance to any room.


Franco Albini’s AS41Z pendant from 1969. Adding a glossy gleaming element to your contemporary décor, Franco Albini’s range of chromed pendants, floor and table lamps feature a distinctive jointed arm that revolves horizontally to bring the dome shaped shade’s wide wash of downlight precisely where it’s needed.


Perriand “Pivotante a Poser” – The Ultimate Adjustable Lantern. Another Nemo lighting designer, Charlotte Perriand, worked with Le Corbusier in the 1920’s then subsequently worked in Japan, Vietnam, then back again to France. The influences of these cultures combined in her work from the mid 1950’s onwards. The lamps illustrated incorporate colour, movement and adjustable shapes – sliding mechanisms enable you to focus or diffuse the light source, creating soft colourful lantern style lighting for the home.


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Mr Light Short – A Lamp with an Adjustable Personality. Whether it ends up as a classic of the future or not, Javier Mariscal’s “Mr Light Short’ and ‘Mr Light Tall’ are wonderful reminders that great design can be fun. The arms and hats of these anthropomorphic masterpieces can be adjusted to give the lamps individual personalities – like Oscar Wilde every home needs a touch of wit.

Alan Bertenshaw
Matisse International Design