Room by Room – the Nelson Bubble Lamp

The modern icon we will be looking at this week on Room by Room with FormFire Glassworks was not only popular in its original incarnation, but has been the inspiration for pieces available today from Ikea to Target.


George Nelson created the “Bubble Lamp” line for Howard Miller in 1947 where it was sold through the late 1970s, when it was discontinued. Nelson never named the different lamp designs and they were simply given numbers by Howard Miller. In the 1990’s Modernica reissued the “Bubble Lamp” line and “named” each individual Bubble Lamp design, including the “˜Ball shown here. Available in many shapes with straight or criss-crossing frames, the Bubble Lamp has stood the test of time. Because of the simplicity of color and form of these lamps, they work with quite a few looks, from a strong retro feel to a more up-to-date pared-down decor. Instead of merely providing a light source, the Bubble Lamp (in all its many shapes) also takes up visual space in a room, and is a great way to make a high-ceilinged room feel more intimate.

It is the simplicity of this modern icon that has inspired my accessory selection. To complement such a basic form, clean lines and straightforward ideas are key. A concrete coffee table looks solid yet has cutouts that hint at a deeper concept. A magnetic vase allows you to play with the lines of your display. Type-inspired coasters echo the round shape without being too referential, while a felt bookbox softens the scene. A wenge clock has a strong, clean look with moving dials that play off the lamps round form.

Next week I will choose a new iconic piece and give you my picks for accessorizing your modern home.

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FormFire Glassworks : Modern Icons - the Nelson Bubble Lamp
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