Great lighting designers have to focus on many areas, marrying new technologies with various materials-and combining those practical elements with brilliant ideas. One man who does it al too well is Ingo Maurer, who burst onto the lighting scene with the conceptual lamp Bulb.
1. Bulb by Ingo Maurer
A hand-blown, lightbulb-shaped crystal glass that encases a smaller bulb inside with a mirrored dome, the 1966 Bulb began Maurer's love affair with narrative and self-reflexivity. Bulb is extra note-worthy, as Maurer showcased the bulb shape before it was possible to simply stick a small LED inside anything. The chromated metal foot is resplendent, and the large scale of bulb also immediately indicated that the bulb was not actually a bulb.
2. YaYaHo by Ingo Maurer
By 1982 Maurer harnessed the power of halogen lighting, which allowed him to create systems that changed our understanding of the lamp as a lighting object-adding flourishes through shapely elements that could be adjusted horizontally and vertically, thereby turning lighting into a kinetic sculpture.
3. Lucellino Table by Ingo Maurer
Maurer would return to the iconic lightbulb again and again throughout his career, in 1992 turning it into an anthropomorphic flying creature.
4. Porca Miseria! By Ingo Maurer
The limited-edition Porca Miseria! (the title came from a friend's reaction upon seeing the lamp) presents a blow-up of porcelain dishes, each shattered, then finished by hand and attached by rods to a central structure that also contains the lighting elements. Pieces of cutlery add sparks of metallic shine and contrasting texture. I like to think this would be the chandelier in a version of Alice in Wonderland directed by Peter Greenaway.
5. Bellissima Brutta by Ingo Maurer
By 1997, Ingo Maurer and his team got ahold of LEDs and their possible power as both a light source and a design constraint. Bellissima Brutta, meaning "The Ugly Beauty," was originally incarnated in 1996-and reminds me of the plant a robot would have at home.
6. Zettel'z 5 by Ingo Maurer
One of Maurer's most famous examples of playing with paper, Zettel'z 5 comes with 31 printed and 49 blank sheets of Japanese paper. You can move the arms that hold the paper, changing the shape of Zettel'z 5 from explosive to constricted. The content and writing style on the paper add to the individualized nature of this suspension lamp-a perfect piece for creatives and kids.
7. Moonati by Ingo Maurer
The MaMo Nouchies continue Maurer's investigations into Japanese paper. Designed with Dagmar Mombach, these crinkled paper lamps undergo a special manufacturing process to create the desired shapes. Outfitted with LED modules and a cooling element, Maurer's paper lamps recall fans, moons, cranes, and jellyfish. These lamps emit a warm glow, which also gives them a sense of inner life.
For more information, visit www.ingo-maurer.com.