Kartell’s Bourgie table lamp is re-imagined by leading designers to mark its 10th anniversary

Kartell's Bourgie Table Lamp
(Image credit: Ferruccio Laviani)

2014 is shaping up to be quite a year for design brand Kartell, marking the company's 65th birthday but also the 10th anniversary of one of its most famous pieces: Ferruccio Laviani's Bourgie table lamp (opens in new tab).

The Milan-based designer, who has been working as Kartell's in-house art director for over 20 years, designed the light in 2004 responding to the brief of creating 'an important lamp'. Inspiration came from an old fixture sitting on his desk and a 1970s disco song by Ashford & Simpson repeating 'Everybody wants to be bourgie bourgie' in reference to the wannabe bourgeoisie. The result features the silhouette of a classic table lamp, rendered in what the Italian company does best: plastic. Transparent and tongue-in-cheek, the Bourgie represents an important time in the company's history of experimentation with the material.

Lamp covered with white cloth

(Image credit: Press)

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To celebrate the milestone, the now-iconic piece was handed over to friends and collaborators from the design world, ranging from Nendo to Patricia Urquiola, from Mario Bellini to Philippe Starck (by way of Lenny Kravitz). The 14 one-off designs are currently on display at Kartell's Paris flagship on Boulevard Saint-Germain, after which they will turn into a travelling exhibition for the rest of the year before being auctioned online (with the proceeds going to charity).
 
The collection is both a tribute to the now-iconic piece and to the sharing of ideas that is very much at the base of Kartell's credo: cross-pollination is key, and the enthusiastic interpretations merge the designers' personal tribute to Laviani with their own design vision and style.

Nendo's design upside-down silhouette of the original

Nendo's design comes in pairs, the space between two lamps recreating an upside-down silhouette of the original, as seen from this sketch

(Image credit: Press)

Giant white table lamp

Nendo's design is one of a series of pieces created by leading international designers to celebrate the Bourgie's 10th anniversary. The one-off creations are currently on display at Kartell's Paris flagship on Boulevard Saint-Germain, after which they will turn into a travelling exhibition for the rest of the year before being auctioned online (with the proceeds going to charity)

(Image credit: Nendo)

Block capital letters on the lampshade of his matte black Bourgie

'The future is a present from the past' is the message that Patrick Jouin decided to spell out in block capital letters on the lampshade of his matte black Bourgie

(Image credit: Patrick Jouin)

Hanging fixture

Patricia Urquiola's interpretation plays a dual role: the designer took apart the lamp's base and reshaped it into a hanging fixture, both as an iconic memory of its design and also to playfully recall the shape of a carousel

(Image credit: Patricia Urquiola)

Front melted the stand of lamp

Swedish design trio Front melted the stand of the Bourgie to reshape it into a reading light in the form of a humorous character peeking over a reader's shoulder

(Image credit: Press)

Lamp made with coat and umbrella stand

In architect Mario Bellini's hands, the Bourgie tripled up as a coat and umbrella stand. He commented: 'nothing is created ... everything is transformed'

(Image credit: Press)

Autograph on one side of the lampshade

'The light sparks as if a star shines,' said Tokujin Yoshioka about his design, which was faithful to the original Bourgie and bore the designer's autograph on one side of the lampshade

(Image credit: Press)

Oversized paper version of lamp

Piero Lissoni's Bourgie is as an oversized paper version of the original, his inspiration coming from a documentary on Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, in which the director commissions a giant paper city set for one of his films

(Image credit: Press)

Minimal stand of lamp

Alberto Meda created a minimal stand for the Bourgie, calling his interpretation a 'return to the future'

(Image credit: Press)

Lamp with silhouette in iron wire, multi-coloured bulb

Ludovica+Roberto Palomba considered the design process behind the original lamp and stripped it back to its sketch state, producing a silhouette in iron wire and projecting its lines with a multi-coloured bulb

(Image credit: Press)

Black lamp with enhancing its shapes and details

Christophe Pillet covered the lamp in a layer of black felt, enhancing its shapes and details

(Image credit: Christophe Pillet)

Lamp stand with colourful plastic bracelets, charms and chains

Philippe Starck visited flea markets, street vendors and small shops to gather a collection of colourful plastic bracelets, charms and chains, which he used to dress up the Bourgie

(Image credit: Press)

Transparent lamp with iron base

Rodolfo Dordoni made a rendition of the piece's base in iron (the abbreviation of Ferruccio and the Italian word for iron, Ferro, being his nickname of choice for Laviani)

(Image credit: Rodolfo Dordoni)

Lamp turned it into a cake, with 10 candle-shaped bulbs

Eugeni Quitllet celebrated the lamp's anniversary by turning it into a cake, with 10 candle-shaped bulbs emerging from its lampshade

(Image credit: Press)

Transparent lamp with flame-like bulbs

The flame-like bulbs of Quitllet's design

(Image credit: Press)

ADDRESS

242 Boulevard Saint-Germain
75007 Paris
France

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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.