Jean Perzel (1892 – 1986) Austrian Lighting Designer

Lighting Jean Perzel

Jean Perzel (1892-1986) was an Austrian designer born in Bruck, Slovakia, today known as Mostpri Bratislave.

Early Years

He began painting on glass at a young age and worked as a stained glass artist in Munich. He worked in many workshops in Paris starting in 1919, including Jacques Gruber’s. He saw that electric illumination was nothing more than a transformation of oil lamps and candlesticks. He made his first lamps in the style of Romanesque church windows. 

Biography

In 1923, he established his own lighting company, Jean Perzel Luminaires, at 3 rue de la Cité Universitaire in Paris. In his lighting, he used metal supports and reflectors with transparent, opaque, American, and tinted glass, often with rough edges. He was one of the first to examine the lighting of huge interior spaces, such as those found on early ocean liners, the League of Nations Palace in Geneva, the cathedral in Luxembourg, and the train station in Mulhouse. He created illumination for the Henry Ford house in Detroit, the Savoy hotel in London, and the Maharaja of Indore’s residences in Bangkok and Indore. In household lighting, his goal was to create surfaces that dispersed evenly and efficiently. Therefore he made a frosted (or sandblasted) inner glass surface that could be enamelled to change its opacity. He also utilised beige and pink-tinted enamels. His mountings were lacquered or nickel-plated. Despite his limited variety of lighting fixtures, he concentrated his mass production on a few models, including table lamps, chandeliers, ceiling lights, columns, ceiling dalles, and lit tables. Perzel was commissioned to develop lighting for Maurice Jallot, Lucien Rollin, the Tétard brothers, architect Michel Roux-Spitz, and others. Perzel is still in business today.

Exhibitions

He exhibited his work in the Salon d’Automne from 1929 to 1939, the Société des Artistes Décorateurs Salons from 1926 to 1939, and the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts Salons, as well as several international shows, winning multiple awards. At the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1924, he exhibited his iconic Drops of Water. In the 1930s, his lighting was included in the Paris Salons of Light, as well as the 1925 ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.’

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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