Above: A Lightolier showroom in California, 1960. Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archives.
Never to be underestimated the impact of a ceiling light can make a room. Being the focus point, it is more often than not the first impression of a space and, like all first impressions, it is usually the lasting one. Choosing the right light is a matter of color temperature, scale, and purpose – whether ambient or practical or both. And it can be a pretty daunting task when designing / defining a space. That being said, it seems that in the 1950’s and 1960’s they were spoiled for choice. With far more local and foreign manufacturers, the plethora of lighting available to consumers was astonishing. Today, with far fewer manufacturer and production costs concerns, what passes for choice is more often than not variations on the same theme. Design (if considered at all) is now a secondary concern to most manufacturers.
With design choice being limited and the build quality of some newer lighting being a bit sketchy, many designers are turning to lighting made in days past. Even though the design may be a modern or contemporary, room designers will top it off with a piece of ‘ceiling jewelry’ made in the 1950’s 60’s and, more recently, 70’s. Lighting, like all well-designed and well-made items, is timeless. So enjoy but a few of the 100’s of lighting options that would have hovered over the heads of Mid Century Modern folks!
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A Lightolier showroom in California, 1960. Would have been a great place to shop!
All photos: Julius Shulman / Getty Archive
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