Today, I’m taking it ‘old school.’ Mariano Fortuny is a famous Spanish designer of one of my favorite mid-century modern pieces: the Fortuny floor lamp. Now, just to be clear, Fortuny was (and still is) revered for many, many things. Although the term should be used sparingly, he was a true renaissance man. He began his career as a fashion designer in 1907, but an intellectual curiosity and innate artistry led him to create beautiful textiles and fabrics, design furniture and lamps, and made his own photographic paper. Heck…the man invented the first dimmer switch!
Here, a playful illustration of Fortuny’s “Delphos” gown, a piece for which he still rather famous:
Now to my favorite piece, his floor lamp. The Fortuny floor lamp is an exercise in design simplicity and practicality. Having also studied photography, he was very familiar with various studio and stage lighting techniques, and this lamp clearly reflects that. You would be surprised to know that this lamp is over 100 years old. Designed in 1907, it is often regarded as his design masterpiece. And rightly so.
Like many studio umbrellas (lighting equipment), the interior of this lamp is painted in fireproof silver, the head pivots, the steel frame painted in black, and the height is adjustable. Fortuny believed that, “It is not the quantity, but the quality of light, that makes things visible.” The light is soft, diffuse, ambient, almost in conflict with such an industrial, though beautiful, piece of equipment.
And though the original cotton fabric came in black, these days, contemporary recreations of a modern design offer black, white, beige or designed cloth, as well as a white painted steel, in addition to black.
Here, an original Fortuny Floor Lamp:
The Cookie House, in Lyon, FR. A Fortuny Floor Lamp, an Eames rocker and tulip chairs at the dining room table…clearly the home’s owner is a fan of mid-century modern furniture.
The interior design of this place is also breath-taking, as is the house itself. I’m feeling generous so I’ll share it you guys some time soon.
It may surprise some of you, but this is the dining room of Kanye West’s Los Angeles apartment. Love him or hate him, the guy clearly has style…click the image to see the rest of his apartment, it’s pretty fly (like a G-6).
By now, you all are dying to know where to get a gorgeous Fortuny floor lamp of your own. Well, there’s Design within Reach or AllModern.com…or 1Dibs, where you have to ‘inquire about the price,’ (which means it’s really, really expensive).
Or you could get a gorgeous replica like this one:
For more info on Mariano Fortuny, visit www.fortuny.com.