Table top companions
In my fourth year of university I found an old green-shaded bankers light at a second hand store and brought it home to my rented room near campus. It would soon forever alter the way I thought about lighting. That winter the light sat on my desk, lighting my study space while emitting a beautiful ambient glow. I recall it was a stressful semester; there were more than a few all-nighters—cramming for tests and frantically typing out essays. Through every one of those nerve-wracking nights, that desk light quietly witnessed my meltdowns and tantrums. Its green glow was calming, its simple presence soothing and persistent. That little luminaire kept me company during those long, lonely hours of study—possibly even sane. Later that summer it finally flickered and died, a wire or something dislodged somewhere and eluded my attempts at repair. Sadly it didn’t find its way to my new place when I moved again that fall.
It turns out I’m not alone in this fondness for my table light. Others have confessed their unexpected affection for these handy luminaires. Table lights sit on our desks and on our side tables, near our beds and in the den. They’re present in our work spaces and in our quiet spaces, lighting our books and fuelling our thoughts. Table lamps become familiar objects because of their utility and perpetual proximity; when they’re designed and made well, they become trusty companions for a lifetime, perhaps even several.
To honour these luminary comrades, my colleagues here at LightForm have all shared their favourite table lights along with what makes them so special. Perhaps you’ll find one that speaks to you.
Baccarat’s Candy Light table lamp, designed by Jaime Hayon. Like most of Hayon’s designs, this light is a delicious treat for the eyes. Its smooth ceramic body juxtaposes with its shade of classic cut crystal, resulting in a perfectly playful representation of evolving elegance. The ceramic base is available in three colours: copper, white, or platinum. Starting at $2,750.
Flos’ Ara desk light, designed by Philippe Stark. Is it a horn, a shooting star, a crescent? The Ara is delightfully poetic, leaving the user to interpret its meaning. Somber in its solid stance, this mystic luminaire adds character to any space—which character will depend on the chrome-reflected essence of the beholder. Adjustable head for direct light wherever you need it. Starting at $995.
Foscarini’s Gregg table light, designed by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba. If it’s possible for a luminaire to be called “cute,” the Gregg is that light. Made out of free-blown satin glass, it’s smooth to the touch and provides a warm, comforting glow. With this soft light, it’s the perfect ambient luminaire; lovely on a bedside table or in an area where you would use candlelight. Available in three sizes, this light can make a beautiful accent as an individual piece or make a statement in a grouping of three. Also available in a suspension and outdoor versions! Starting at $331.
Flos’ Guns Table, designed by Philippe Stark. This is a fantastic luminaire for an eclectic space, a masculine space, or any room that is designed to be a little tongue-in-cheek. With two metal finish options and beautiful bi-directional light, this table lamp is gorgeous and fun. It is also available in a bedside lamp and a floor lamp. Starting at $2,245.
Marset’s Funiculi desk light, designed by Lluis Porqueras. This is a really fun desk light that adds a lot of character to a room. It’s a modern take on a vintage look. It looks great anywhere—from a bedroom nightstand to an office desk. You can adjust its height and pivot the shade, so it’s very versatile. Plus, it comes in a beautiful red finish (Kailla’s favourite), that is perfect for adding a pop of colour to any space. Other colours available. Starting at $310, this is a beautiful, versatile, and affordable light, one that will soon be the start of Kailla’s own personal Marset lighting collection.
Delightfull’s Turner table light. The Turner is a beautiful table light named after and inspired by Tina Turner’s dance moves. Kailla loves the elegance of the luminaire and especially the white and gold version—very classy. Coming from a Portuguese background herself, Kailla is impressed by the quality and personality of Delightfull’s lights. They do a great job of representing Portuguese culture within their modern designs. With the Turner, you’re really getting more than a light; you’re getting a light, an art piece, and a conversation piece. Starting at $3,140.
Roll & Hill’s Excel desk light, designed by Rich Brilliant Willing. Alex loves this light’s mix of industrial and contemporary elements. The contrast between its natural wood stem and its polished metal is unique and inviting. Starting at $390.
Foscarini’s Bicnic table light, designed by Ionna Vautrin. This adorable table light reminds Alex of the Southpark character Kenny, in his little snowsuit and hood. The colours are fun and its low profile makes it great for small spaces. Starting at $289.
Roll & Hill’s Excel desk light (in white specifically), designed by Rich Brilliant Willing.
Marset’s Scantling (again, in white specifically), designed by Mathias Hahn. Both these desk lamps appeal to Donna’s love of simplicity. Form follows function, harmony of materials, and visual contrast. “There’s just something about the cleanliness of white, the warmth of oak, and that black cord that is oh so attractive, isn’t there?” We couldn’t agree more, Donna.
Flos’ Taccia table light, designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. It’s the scale of this light (BIG!) that appeals to Angela, as well as its industrial feel with an edge of glam. The Taccia is a true icon in the lighting world, as are its sibling designers, for whom Angela feels compatriot affection. Starting at $2,895.
Foscarini’s Rituals table light, designed by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba. With organically shaped shades resting gently on three legs, this light comes across as anthropomorphic. Group several of these soft and modern luminaires together and they look like a family or tribe. Starting at $637.
Studio Italia’s Curl my Light table light, designed by Dima Loginoff. Jenna is drawn to the uniqueness of this luminaire. Made of painted metal (available in black or white), it resembles a traditional light in form, yet its composition is anything but. The curling metal strips encase the lamp like a mini-tornado. It brings a fun energy to any room and is perfect for people who aren’t afraid to express their personality through their luminaires. Starting at $1,800.
Foscarini’s Magneto desk light, designed by Giulio Iacchetti. This desk light was designed with a minimalistic approach yet offers a multitude of usages, from direct to diffused lighting. The profile of the light houses a cable, allowing the diffuser to pivot and move freely as needed, which doesn’t remain only at the top of the lamp but adjustable to the height that we want. Starting at $602.
Flos’ MiniKelvin LED task light, designed by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen. MiniKelvin LED is a nice little task light in an attractive design, which has found its place even in the kitchen for reading recipes. The components have been put together harmoniously. The LED lighting casts a warm light, and it can lend itself to any room of the house. Starting at $345.
Delightfull’s Amy. As a musician at heart, Richard feels a strong affinity with this luminaire–a tribute to the great British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse. Its outline recalls the black of her hair and her round earring. Its inside, gold like her golden voice. The irreverent table version looks great on top of a desk or sideboard. Handmade in brass and a lampshade in aluminum exactly like it was made in the 50s. Starting at $2,010.
Flos’ new Kelvin LED Green task light, designed by Antonio Citterio and Toan Nguyen. Brains and beauty: this classic task light has it all. Adjustable and aesthetically pleasing, it’s a light you keep for life. Now with daylight and motion sensors, these new versions will only use as much power as they need and you never have to worry about leaving them on overnight. Starting at $545.
Parachilna’s Aballs M table light, designed by Jaime Jayon. Ben likes his luminaires to have a little character, something that makes you appreciate it as an object, not simply as a light source. Shaped like a comically proportioned person, the Aballs M table light has plenty of character to offer. With gold and black finishes, it also has a real look of luxury. The gold finish—or accents on the black one—is highlighted delicately by the warm glow of the halogen source when lit. Soft, warm, and subtle, this (newly released to North America!) light has already found a place in Ben’s home. Prices coming soon.
As for me, I’d remained hopelessly attached to the memory of my clunky old banker’s light—until, that is, Flos recently revealed the Goldman desk light, designed by Ron Gilad. This sleek new luminaire is a beautiful homage to the classic banker’s light, with a modern design, LED technology, and of course, that memorable green shade. Flos luminaires last a lifetime because they’re built with quality materials and exceptional manufacturing processes, so I’m looking forward to many long nights with my new friend. With a design already imbued with history, it’s sure to become a quiet companion to many. Also available in black. Starting at $495.
Many of these table and desk lamps are on display in our showrooms across the country, so stop by and find your own luminary comrade. They also make unique and very memorable gifts!
Which of these luminaires is your favourite?
PS. First image of this post is Flos’ new MOD.548 table light, designed by Gino Sarfatti. Starting at $1,490.