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.
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.
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.