Designer: Christian Dell, 1931.
Details: Hand-painted steel and brass table lamp, with the dome embossed with the words, ORIGINAL KAISER-idell, £506, Fritz Hansen for Republic of Fritz Hansen.
If the true test of a classic is that it looks as contemporary as the day it was first shipped out of the factory, then the Kaiser idell passes the test.
Sleek, curvy and covetable, it was designed by German silversmith Christian Dell, foreman of the metal workshop in the legendary Bauhaus design school at Weimar (where he worked until he was sacked by the National Socialists).
Dell is credited with single-handedly inventing the shape of the modern office lamp and who is going to argue with that? This baby was designed after the school closed down, but still embodies the Bauhaus aesthetic for mass-produced design – distinctively clean and über-functional.
Its name derives in part from the factory where it was first manufactured (Gebr Kaiser & Co in northwest Germany) and a mix of Dell’s own name with a play on the German word for idea, idee. Now you know.
Available in a range of lacquered finishes and several table-top versions – as well as a pendant and wall and floor lamps – but this, the crouching, domed 6631 table lamp is the classic.