24 June 2013

Functional Art: Mid-Century Modern Danish Lamps

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From the very first moment that I looked at a Danish modern lamp, I was in awe. That's been some 15 years or so ago now. In fact, this incredible appeal hit me before I even knew what Mid-Century Modern was. At the time, I just knew what I liked, and what drew me. Over the years, I've seen an extensive display online of incredibly designed mid-century lamps. In fact almost all of my preferred lamps are Danish modern. So, I thought it might be good to look at why these lamps are so captivating to me and so many others.

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One of my favorite aspects of design, in any form, is the texture that is considered, developed, and then applied to each creative piece. Danish Modern lamps from the mid-century era have a large range of textures that are employed with elegance and grace. As with many lamps, the shades typically are textured. However, different from most other lamp styles, the shades themselves are primarily translucent. Not using a solid card or paper backing to reflect light up/down, and not trying to hide the light bulb completely. Allowing the light to pass, but not allowing for a clear affirmation of what lies inside creates a sense of dimension that can draw you in. Use of these textured materials in a screening capacity creates a high contrast effect on the textured materials use within the lamps design. Magnifying the already notable texture to an almost unreal proportion. By using meshes of different materials, loosely woven strongly textured fabrics, frosted glasses, fiberglass, or thinly molded ceramics, in the lamp design almost always helps give these textured lamps shades a very light visual aesthetic. Mixing a soft feel amongst the harder feeling materials such as woods and metals.

Uses of different woods, ceramics, metals, and glass, are another aspect of these lamps design that contribute to their textural appeal.

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Visually Light
Danish Modern lamp shades are not the only aspect of the lamps that give them their light or airy visual look. Selection of the right kinds of materials also help in this effort to minimize their visual weight.

Wood, in it's varied options are probably the most evident of materials used in Danish Modern Lamps. Using hardwoods, such as the commonly thought of Teak, in the lamp construction is one way in which the lamps maintain there light and airy visual appeal. Such hardwoods allow for thin surfaces,  sharp angle changes, load bearing at irregular angles, long sweeping curves, and hardware fastening without any major compromise to the structural integrity.

Choosing wood also allowed for very fluid and soft lines in the design of the lamps. Creating points, edges, and curves that fold and fade into various angles helping to keep the light visual appearance that makes these lamps a truly sculptured piece of home accessories.

Metals of different styles are also commonly found in the construction of these lamps. Being used in various facets. Metals are found from the finest details, such as custom made dowels, screw nuts, lamp shade banding, and light bulb stands, thru decorative ornaments, and right down to the structural aspects, such as legs that plant the lamp firmly on the ground and their vertical supports.  Metal, needless to say, plays an integral part in the visual appearance of these inspiring lamps.

Use of metal is a very important aspect in the overall design of these lamps. Do to the use of metals in the various details and construction, these lamps can maintain strong but thin lines. Using metal also facilitates ease of color palette options, allowing for a more tailored and specific overall look.

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String and wire are two more materials that allow these lamps to have a light, but sculptured appearance. While neither of these two materials are the norm, there are many examples of these beautiful lamps that have been designed with these materials as an integral part of the artistic pallet.

Wire and string are typically used to create a unique and custom shade, or to fill a spacial void for  balance, these materials also lend to the visual appeal of these lamps.

Color, while not being the most prominent aspect of the these wonder lamps design, also plays a very important part of the overall effect that these incredible lamps have on the space they occupy. Use of highly contrasted tones on carefully selected pieces allows for these lamps to convey looks of being firmly planted, floating effortlessly, or look as though they are in motion. While the lamp shades may include the heaviest portion of the lamp, a white translucent shade made of glass or ceramic may appear to be light and effortlessly held in space by the much darker and visually heavy wooden base. These visual effects are very precise and create a beautiful balance in the art.

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When colors other than white or wood tones are chosen, they tend to be brighter and well contrasted. Most metals are coated with, or are of, specific metals types/colors that flow well visiually with the overall design. While sharp, strong toned metals, such as Stainless Steel or cold steel are used, Copper and Brass and Gold are generally preferred. Not only are these colors of these metals more subdued than standard cold steel or stainless, but they've always been more luxuries in look, and held in higher artistic value.

In the end though, I guess what makes me find these lamps truly great is that they are adequate for just about any setting or design style. Mid-Century Danish modern lamps offers styles, designs, and textures that will match everything from your velvet couch, to your brass Tiffany candelabras, right down to your favorite lounge, whether it be Eames or not. So, if you in the market for a new lamp, you might want to check out whats available in the Danish modern.

Just below, you will find 10 personally selected Danish modern lamps that I found on*.

The items in this* app are temporarily available. After these items have been sold or the bid time has ended.* will propagate search term listings. 

*Note:* is an affiliate of Amidst Mod. For more information on the affiliate programs that participates in, please see our income page.

Knoll @ - Modern Furniture & Lighting

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