“Good design, like good painting, cooking, architecture or whatever you like – is a manifestation of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend its limitations.” (George Nelson)
By Clarissa Allison | December 16th, 2016
The appeal of the George Nelson Bubble lamps is global. From California and New York to Europe and Australia, customers can’t get enough of them. The clean lines, retro-modern appearance and variety of shapes and applications make this series a true favorite and best seller.
George Nelson was one of the groundbreaking pioneers of what has been termed American Modernism or “mid-century modern”. His innovative and functional designs have become some of the most iconic in home furnishings and have helped to define an era. After studying architecture at Yale University, he competed for the Van Alen Paris Prize in Architecture and wound up winning the Rome Prize in 1932 instead! From there, he decided to travel Europe interviewing the world’s leading architects. It was during his time as editor of Architectural Forum magazine that he conceived of the very first pedestrian mall. A man who can only be described as a creative force of nature, over the span of fifty years Nelson was a talented writer, essayist, editor, furniture designer, interior designer, teacher, and exhibition designer.
It was Howard Miller (founder of the famous clock company) who introduced George Nelson to his brother Herman Miller. And during his almost 30 years as director of design at Herman Miller, Nelson’s modernist ideas truly blossomed. Ray and Charles Eames, Donald Knorr, Richard Schultz, Harry Bertoia, and Isamu Noguchi all worked for Herman Miller under Nelson’s supervision. He is notable for introducing the concepts of having the “family room” within a home and built-in wall storage, a genius use of space and a staple of design implemented worldwide. He developed some of his most memorable designs there, such as the Sunflower Clocks, Kangaroo Chair, and the Nelson Platform Bench.
What’s known now as the “Bubble Lamp” line was created for his old friend Howard Miller in 1947. Howard Miller outsourced the sales to “Richards Morgenthau, Inc” who handled their national sales. Miller continued to sell the line throughout the late 1970′s and at that time the lamps were retired. George Nelson never named the different lamp designs and they were each given a number by Howard Miller. An array of convenient accessories for the lamps including a satin chrome or brass-finished steel tripod base, swing arms, adjustable pulley fixture, and more were sold by Miller.
Carrying on Nelson’s Legacy
Today Herman Miller in partnership with the George Nelson Foundation, has been at the forefront of reviving and re-launching out-of-production pieces. Now customers can purchase the entire famous “Bubble Lamp” line and (for example the Saucer, Ball, Criss-Cross, Apple, etc). The same techniques and materials are used to handcraft each lamp that were developed in 1952!
A vinyl spray technique encases the wire frame of each carefully hand crafted bubble lamp.
Another singular aspect of the George Nelson Bubble lamps is the fact that they use universal voltage, meaning this lamp can be installed globally without any issues! This fantastic feature allows consumers both in and outside of the United States to enjoy the utter beauty of these lamps.
“From the forming of the wire-frame, to the spraying of the vinyl form, one-by-one, each Bubble Lamp is constructed to last decades and each Bubble Lamp is built to George Nelson’s original specifications.”
Clustering multiple sizes and styles of Bubble Lamps can create a dramatic effect. Hang the different pendants at various lengths to captivate the eye from ceiling to floor.
You’ll find a vast selection of George Nelson Bubble Lamps manufactured by Herman Miller on the Louie Lighting website.
Below, we have reviewed some of the most popular options.
The George Nelson Saucer is one of the first designs by George Nelson. This retro piece has been redeveloped with a steel wire frame construction enveloped by acrylic resin of the translucent spun variety. The sheen of the resin allows the smooth casting of light without causing any glare.
This lamp comes equipped with a 5.25 inch brushed nickel plated steel ceiling plate and six feet of connecting cord for a standard installation. An extra-large variant of this style is also available. Simply contact our team for a quote.
The George Nelson Cigar Bubble Lamp with Stand
is a floor lamp constructed from a simple frame made of steel wire. The entire framework covered with a translucent acrylic resin. The tripod stand is made of steel in a brushed nickel finish.
Along with the lamp and the stand, this exquisitely crafted fixture is also equipped with an on/off switch and 90 inches of connecting cord for a standard installation.
The Pear Pendant Lamp
is a timeless style created using the same materials and process as were used by George Nelson and his protégé for their maiden production run in 1952. It contains a steel wire shaped into a lovely uniform pear with a translucent acrylic resin of spun material. It comes with a bulb holder which accommodates an A19 bulb of up to 150 watts. The only difference from the original is in terms of its technical specifications. With its ability to run on a universal voltage, the George Nelson Pear Bubble Pendant Lamp is truly versatile in addition to being gorgeous.
The Ball Wall Sconce Lamp is a wall sconce like no other. This functional and artistic piece is designed using steel wire to form the outline, which is then draped with a covering of spun acrylic of semi-transparent quality to impart a subtle lighting effect. This is supported by a 2″ thick solid walnut wall-mount which extends into a 14″ long steel arm of brushed nickel finish.
As the name suggests, the George Nelson Criss-Cross Cigar Bubble Pendant by Herman Miller is a cigar shaped hanging pendant with the steel wire molded to give a distinct shape, and placed to form a crisscross mesh. The steel wire is then covered with spun acrylic resin which is translucent to allow diffused light to pass through. A 6’ long connecting cord and a 5.25 inch thick steel ceiling plate in brushed nickel finish form part of the standard accessories.
The George Nelson Lantern Bubble Pendant Lamp
is a prime example of timeless design and a symbol of the renaissance of American designs. This pendant, which was originally designed at the end of the Second World War, has a simple steel wire frame placed in the shape of a lantern and covered with a translucent acrylic resin for clear light without any glare.
The George Nelson Lantern Bubble Pendant comes with a bulb holder which can house an A19 bulb of up to 150 watts.
Variety is the Spice of George Nelson Bubble Lamps!
Keep in mind that several styles of the George Nelson lamps intermingle. The Criss-Cross style is available in the Cigar, Saucer, Ball, and Pear styles. The Lantern design is available with a stand, and the Ball lamps can come with a stand or as pendants as well.
The George Nelson Bubble Lamp® Collection is featured permanently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Visit our website for the entire selection today! For help selecting the right bubble lamp for your space, please contact us at 1-877-385-2104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org