I’ve always really liked George Nelson’s Bubble Lamps; they’re cute, and simultaneously retro and modern. The Bubble Lamps (today’s feature) were all designed in 1947 for Howard Miller, and like many of the mid-century modern pieces I’ve featured in Design Notebook, Nelson incorporated a material that initially was used in the military.
This self-webbing plastic was easy to produce, and as you can see, the result was very similar to a paper lantern, made with a more durable material than…paper. The lamps also emit a lovely, warm, and even light. Moreover, these lamps were all sold at affordable prices for the time, $14.75-$90.
Nelson once told a story of rushing to a sale of silk-covered lamps that he’d had his eye for some time, only to find out there was one left for $125. Thus began his inspiration for the Bubble Lamps, effectively thumbing his nose, ‘Eff that, I’ll make my own lamps!’ That’s pretty much what he did throughout 1947.
Vintage bubble lamps…
Here, a dozen or so different Bubble Lamps light up the space in this warm white dining room…
Love Victoria’s (of San Francisco Girl by Bay) dining room.
And here’s George of the Bubble…Lamps (heh!)
Check out Apartment Therapy for a little bit of history on the Bubble Lamps.