Art Deco style is a great buy as it is still under appreciated but it often mixes very well with our contemporary look. Lights and lamps are particularly easy to fit in but one of the most iconic of Deco designs, the lady lamp, is a bit more difficult to reconcile with our more gender conscious politics. What do you think – up your street or a bit too kitsch to be cool? – here’s a bit more to help you make up your mind.
When we think of Art Deco it usually conjures up images of sharp angle, straight lines and geometric shapes but there’s another, more sensuous side to Art Deco, especially in the lamps created during the 1920s and 30s.
Inspired by the great ‘naughty’ clubs like the Moulin Rouge and the show-girl culture of Paris, nude female figurines were created to stand or recline alongside illuminated globes. Many of these Art Deco lamps, on bases that ranged from alabaster to marble, were openly erotic and must have appealed to a generation keen to change the rigid rules of society after the disaster of WWI.
One well-known designer of these lamps was the Spaniard Enrique Molins Balleste, a prominent Art Deco artist. He made a name for himself in Paris, where he produced female figurines in a zinc alloy called Spelter, which were then gilded in silver or gold (frosted glass was a typical Balleste choice for his lamp’s globes).
or crystalline-shaped shades. Sometimes a lone green figure would hold a flying-saucer-like disc of frosted glass;
other times pairs of figurines combined forces to lift a cylinder or rectangle of soft light high into the air.