Design Classic: Bourgie Lamp

Classical lines are reconfigured in sleek polycarbonate

Designer: Ferruccio Laviani, 2004.

Details: Polycarbonate table lamp in Crystal, £252, Kartell.

One of the most instantly recognisable of interior accessories, the Bourgie table lamp has been illuminating our homes for more than a decade now, but its take on baroque style has proved to be remarkably adaptable, subtly changing its look over the years, yet still retaining its status as a standout piece of modern design.

Conceived by Kartell’s art director Ferruccio Laviani, his brief for the lamp was far from straightforward: to create something ‘important’.

Taking his cue from a vintage design on his desk and – it is said – from the lyrics of a disco track about the upwardly mobile (Bourgie’, Bourgie’ being a subtle dig at the bourgeoisie), Laviani played with the concept of classical lines reconfigured in sleek polycarbonate.

With its scrolled feet, elegant silhouette and faux-fabric shade, the Bourgie has a timeless, but tongue-in-cheek feel, perfectly suited to the postmodern world. And, as if to prove the point that today’s icons shouldn’t be taken too seriously, the Bourgie was reimagined by some of interior design’s most influential names to celebrate its 10th anniversary, with Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola among the luminaries producing one-off versions in materials ranging from paper to metal.

Kartell has not been idle, either, colouring the plastic in ever-more innovative shades.

Still, we think the pristine Crystal is the most perfect version of all – the John Travolta, if you will, of this Bourgie wonderland…

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