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October 07, 2009

Modern Industrial Lamp

An industrial and modern design favorite, the The Lampe Gras is now available at Brook Farm General Store in Brooklyn, NY.  The store sent PC this background on the iconic piece, its history, and designer...

In 1921, a young engineer named Bernard-Albin Gras designed a series of lamps for use in offices and industrial environments. The Lampe Gras, as it came to be known, is the quintessential French architect lamp. Astounding in its simple yet beautiful design, which had neither screws nor welded joints in the basic form, it quickly gained a cult following in France.

The harbinger of an era, Lampes Gras were one of, if not the, first items created for industrial use to became desirable in interior decorating. The 1920s were a golden age of design in France, and the Lampe Gras epitomized the combination of form and function that has come to define the style of that period.

There are many lights that describe themselves as architects’ lamps, but only Lampe Gras can claim the distinction of being not only the original architect lamp, but the favorite of the godfather of modern architecture himself, Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier was one of Bernard-Albin Gras’s most enthusiastic supporters. Championing the lamps as modern classics, he described them as a ‘type-objet’; an object reduced to its pure function. He used the lamps in his own offices, as well as in many of his most famous architectural projects all over the world.

Other well known avant-garde figures such as the designer and modernist architect, Robert Mallet-Stevens, the glamorous Art Deco furniture designer and interior decorator, Emile Jacques Ruhlmann, and the modernist artist and designer, Eileen Gray, adopted the Lampe Gras. Many important French artists, such as the cubists Sonia Delaunay, Georges Braque and Henri Matisse also used these lamps in their studios.

Production of the Gras Lamps stopped at the outbreak of the Second World War, and only now, finally, after over a year of experimentation and careful study, Lampes Gras are once again being made, by hand, in France.

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These lamps are very nice. Can they be used in an industrial application where debris will be flying around?

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