Then and Now — George Nelson Bubble Lamp

Then and Now — George Nelson Bubble Lamp


In 1946, architect George Nelson became the design director at Herman Miller furniture company, despite having zero experience with furniture. During his reign until 1972, he took Herman Miller from the then-present of wood-based designs into the future with iconic designs and innovative materials. And thus he started American Modernism.

One of Nelson’s designs representative of American Modernism is the bubble lamp, designed in 1947. It stemmed from him wanting a Swedish hanging sphere lamp that was covered in meticulously wrapped in silk—and very expensive. After coming across a grubby store sample one at Bonniers, a Swedish import shop in Manhattan, for a whopping $125 (this was in the late 1940’s), George had the idea to create a similar one. He headed back to his office where they built a wire frame and used self-webbing spray, a plastic that had been developed for using during World War II. Only just weeks before he has seen a photo in The New York Times of Liberty ships from the war that were being preserved for potential immediate use in the future, also known as mothballing them by covering the decks in netting and spraying the self-webbing plastic.

See how George Nelson’s bubble lamp has been used in homes then and now.


Then and Now — George Nelson Bubble Lamp



#bubblelamp #georgenelson #green #sovrum #bumling #bedroom

A photo posted by @no.white.walls on

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A photo posted by The LANCESUHLOT Chronicles (@lancesuhlot) on

Find George Nelson on Krrb

Then and Now — George Nelson Bubble Lamp

George Nelson was a prolific designer and you can find many of his designs for sale on Krrb. From furniture to lamps, you can own your bit of American Modernism.

  • Pick up the George Nelson Bubble Lamp Large Cigar Pendant from Jimmy in Chicago.
  • Enjoy the glow of the spherical bubble lamp from Lost and Found in Oakland, California.
  • John Newman Design in Pasadena, California has the rarely seen bell-shaped Bubble Lamp for sale.
    • An original George Nelson lamp with a twist—this version has rope twine woven as the shade. Pick it up in Somers, New York from Pat Corr.

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