Standby, retrieving information, this process may take a moment.

Designs of the Decades

What makes an icon? The ability to withstand the test of time. These noteworthy designs come from every era (from the 1920s through today), but have everlasting status as classics of modern-day living.

Written by Sarah Schaale

1920s

PH Series designed by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen

Danish designer Poul Henningsen first designed the PH collection in 1925 for an exhibition in Paris. The three shade system was designed to be free of glare and create soft shadows that mimicked the ambient gas-powered lamps Henningsen remembered from his childhood. The collection now boasts 19 different versions in various sizes and colors.

SHOP 1920s ICONS
PH Series by Louis Poulsen

1930s

Original 1227 Task Lamp by George Carwardine for Anglepoise

This is one of the most iconic British designs of the 21st century. Automotive engineer George Carwardine chanced upon the design for the 1227’s key feature: a spring-and-tension mechanism that combined ultimate flexibility with a perfect balance, making for an acclaimed task lamp and the archetypal Anglepoise design.

SHOP 1930s ICONS
Original 1227 Task Lamp by Anglepoise

1940s

Night Clock By George Nelson for Vitra

One of more than 150 clocks designed by George Nelson during the mid-century. The architect aimed to bring modern design into homes via everyday objects like clocks, lamps and other domestic accessories. Now produced by Vitra, the Ball Clock is produced from the original design documents from the Nelson Estate.

SHOP 1940s ICONS
Night Clock by George Nelson for Vitra

1950s

Swan Chair and Egg Chair By Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen

These two famous pieces from the Danish architect were designed for the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The smooth curves were meant to contrast the hotel's austere lines, but they also made for some of the most well-known shapes that symbolize mid-century and Scandinavian design.

SHOP 1950s ICONS
Swan and Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen

1960s

Arco Floor Lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni for FLOS

Often imitated, but never duplicated. Not only was this famous Italian design a staple on the set of Mad Men, it’s part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The Castiglioni brothers took inspiration from a street light, and gave function to every single detail—such as the hole in the base for easier lifting.

SHOP 1960s ICONS
Arco Floor Lamp by FLOS

1970s

Tizio Classic Task Lamp by Richard Sapper for Artemide

A favorite among architects, thanks to its smooth, feather-light adjustability. The Tizio’s versatile design and industrial edge has earned it a place in the permanent 20th Century Design Collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum.

SHOP 1970s ICONS
Tizio Classic Task Lamp by Richard Sapper

1980s

Berenice Task Lamp by Alberto Meda & Paolo Rizzatto for Luceplan

Lean, and efficient, the Berenice won the Compasso d'oro award in 1987—Italy’s highest honor for industrial design. The stiffened-nylon arm joints and a 360-degree rotating head make it an ideal desktop lamp in any decade.

SHOP 1980s ICONS
Berenice Task Lamp by Luceplan

1990s

Piccola Table Lamp by Pablo Pardo for Pablo Designs

Pablo Pardo's very first design, with a minimal, playful makeup that earned it a spot in the SF MOMA. The design embodies Pardo’s “less is more” design philosophy, with a playful, minimal form that is sensitive to any position, making every interaction with it organic and personal.

SHOP 1990s ICONS
Piccola Table Lamp by Pablo Designs

2000s

Louis Ghost Armchair by Philippe Starck for Kartell

The classic Louis XV Chair gets a thoroughly modern update in transparent polycarbonate. The elegant shape and new-age material merges baroque and modern styles, allowing this chair to work in a space of just about any style.

SHOP 2000s ICONS
Louis Ghost Armchair by Kartell

2010s

Aim Multi-Light Pendant By Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for FLOS

An icon in the making, the Aim Light goes against the tenets of a traditional ceiling light—it’s meant to be hung in groups, and the long cord plays a major role in the aesthetic, rather than finding a way to be tucked out of sight. The result is infinitely adjustable configurations that deliver a functionality that’s as unique as its look.

SHOP 2010s ICONS
Aim Multi-Light Pendant by FLOS
FeedbackFeedback