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Table lamp - Cupola

Cupola

  • Object:

    Table lamp

  • Place of origin:

    Milan (designed and made)

  • Date:

    1988 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Shire, Peter, born 1947 (designer)
    Memphis (producer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    metal, paint (2 light bulbs E27)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Keith Johnson, URBAN ARCHITECTURE Inc., NYC

  • Museum number:

    W.23-2010

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Peter Shire was the only American member of the Italian Design Group Memphis. The Cupola table top lamp was part of Memphis' Luci collection, one of the last projects of the infamous post-modern design group promoted under the name Memphis Milano. In 1988, Memphis was on the verge of separation. Many early members including the founder Ettore Sottsass as well as Michele de Lucchi, Martine Bedin, Nathalie du Pasquier and George Snowden contributed to the collection with designs. But the collection also included younger designers, among others British designer Danny Weil and Gerard Taylor.
With its jaunty legs on geometric shapes in primary colours, the Cupola lamp recalls Shire's Anchorage teapot (M.36-2010) for Memphis. He often uses modernist features but engages them in a visually complex and conceptually challenging way - complying with post-modern principles. This example is the prototype of Shire's lamp.

Physical description

Metal lamp featuring a dark flat square of sheet metal partly covered on top by another bent rectangle of sheet metal, including fittings for two light bulbs (E27), standing on four metal legs, each tapering out from the bottom of the square sheet. The feet are different geometric shapes (a red cube, a yellow and a blue spheres and a black triangular prism).

Place of Origin

Milan (designed and made)

Date

1988 (designed and made)

Artist/maker

Shire, Peter, born 1947 (designer)
Memphis (producer)

Materials and Techniques

metal, paint (2 light bulbs E27)

Dimensions

Height: 37 cm provided by donor, Width: 30 cm provided by donor

Object history note

The Luci collection could be seen as marking the definite passage of Memphis from radical provocation to run-of-the-mill design production. The infamous post-modern design group Memphis was on the verge of breaking up in 1988. Editioning early important designs by the group would continue under new ownership. The lighting collection Luci can be seen as one of the last projects promoted under the name Memphis Milano. Many well known members like the founder Ettore Sottsass, Michele de Lucchi, Martine Bedin, Nathalie du Pasquier, George Snowden and the prolific American designer Peter Shire contributed. But the collection included new names as well, among others British designer Danny Weil and Gerard Taylor, Larry Laske and Iosa Ghini.
The Cupola table top lamp, with its jaunty legs on geometric shapes in primary colours, recalls Peter Shires Anchorage teapot (M.36-2010) for Memphis.

The Luci collection has not received much attention from design historians, however, it did receive positive press in the USA with Carol Vogel writing in the New York Times: 'Whimsically shaped and fashioned from metal, these designs are perhaps the most radical in the current market.' (21 October 1990).

The Luci collection was marketed in the USA by Keith Johnson of Urban Architecture who generously donated this prototype of Shire's lamp.

Descriptive line

Table lamp 'Cupola', metal and painted leg decorations, by Peter Shire, Milan, 1988

Materials

Metal; Paint

Techniques

Painted

Categories

Product design; Lighting; Household objects

Production Type

Prototype

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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