This object, known as the “Bauhaus lamp,” embodies the essential idea—form follows function—of the influential Bauhaus School, founded in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius, who taught the modern synthesis of fine and applied arts. Using simple geometric shapes—circular base, cylindrical shaft, and spherical shade—Wagenfeld and Jucker achieved “both maximum simplicity and, in terms of time and materials, greatest economy.” The lamp’s working parts are visible; the opaque glass shade, formerly used only for industrial lighting, helps diffuse the light.
The lamp was produced in the Bauhaus metal workshop after its reorganisation under the artist László Moholy-Nagy in 1923. The workshop promoted new materials and favoured mass production through a collaborative rather than an individual approach.
Initial attempts at marketing the lamp were unsuccessful in 1924, mainly because most parts were still hand-assembled at the Bauhaus. Today, the lamp is widely produced by the Techno-Lumen of Bremen, Germany. It is generally seen as an icon of modern industrial design.
Wagenfeld, W., & Jucker, C. J. Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Carl Jakob Jucker. Table Lamp. 1923-24: MoMA. The Museum of Modern Art. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/4056.
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