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Best Bets: 10 Iconic Desk Lamps

While a perpetually pleasing form is certainly important, what makes a desk lamp design truly iconic is its functionality. It’s easy to adjust, has bright and focused light and doesn’t get in the way of work that has to be done. Often, it is a design that has survived—and thrived—by being adaptive to evolving lighting technologies.

Finally, you will notice that with all of these, the original design has been successful enough to breed numerous other versions. In other words, the design was too good not to share in other applications.

Written by Nissa Hallquist

AJ Table Lamp by Louis Poulsen

Design: Arne Jacobsen, 1960

One piece of many that Jacobsen designed for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The distinctive shade of the AJ Table Lamp provides a broad and glare-free wash of downlight.

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AJ Table Lamp by Louis Poulsen

Berenice Task Lamp by Luceplan

Design: Alberto Meda & Paolo Rizzatto, 1985

The Berenice Task Lamp is made out of die-cast aluminum and stiffened nylon, which allows for arms and joints that are slim yet super-tough. Plus, the head comes in a fun range of glass or metal options to dress up a desk.

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Berenice Task Lamp by Luceplan

Bernie Series Table Lamp by Holtkoetter

Design: Bernd Swolinski

Just looking at it, you know the Bernie Lamp is a hefty, sturdy piece. It is solid metal with fluid adjustability, making it worthy of the Holtkoetter motto: The Ultimate Lighting Machines.

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Bernie Series Table Lamp by Holtkoetter

KAISER idell Luxus Table Lamp by Fritz Hansen

Design: Christian Dell, 1931

The KAISER idell Lamps are notable for their smooth Bauhaus design. In the case of the table lamp, the adjustable dome shade is also ideal for casting a broad wash of light wherever needed.

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KAISER idell Luxus Table Lamp by Fritz Hansen

Kelvin LED Table Lamp by FLOS

Design: Antonio Citterio & Toan Nguyen, 2009

When they were first designed, the Kelvin Lamps upped the task lighting ante by fully and elegantly embracing LED technology. The square head has a special lens to evenly diffuse the LEDs and has an easy-to-use touch sensor on top.

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Kelvin LED Table Lamp by FLOS

Link Task Light by Pablo Designs

Design: Peter Stathis, 2008

The Link Task Lamp is a modern, award-winning interpretation of 1930s pantograph lighting. The uniquely shaped head houses a ring of LEDs that were the most advanced and energy efficient to date.

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Link Task Lamp by Pablo Designs

Original 1227 Task Lamp by Anglepoise

Design: George Carwardine, 1932

Immediately recognizable as the bouncy Pixar logo, the 1227 Lamp is perhaps the most-copied task lamp. Its reliable, adjustable spring mechanism and focused yet friendly shade make it a perpetual favorite and enduring icon of British lighting design.

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Original 1227 Task Lamp by Anglepoise

Tizio Task Lamp by Artemide

Design: Richard Sapper, 1972

Is it a lamp or a crane? When the Tizio Lamp was designed in 1972, no one had seen anything like it. The perfect balance of the counterweights and arms ensures adjustability with the touch of a finger, and then stays just where you want it.

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Tizio Task Lamp by Artemide

Tolomeo Task Lamp by Artemide

Design: Michele De Lucchi & Giancarlo Fassina, 1989

If you’ve ever watched TV or seen a movie, odds are you’ve seen the Tolomeo Lamp (many times). The design is industrial yet accessible and appealing in a variety of professional and residential settings; to date, there are nearly 50 variations on the original design.

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Tolomeo Task Lamp by Artemide

Z Bar Desk Lamp by Koncept

Design: Peter Ng, 2006

The Z Bar Lamp is the ultimate task lighting contortionist. With a row of bright LEDS housed in the uppermost one, the 3 bars can be bent, twisted and turned in infinite configurations for proper light placement.

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Z Bar Desk Lamp by Koncept
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