Pendant by Lumen Milano, Italy. Date of manufacture circa 1952.
This extraordinary pendant is still in original condition, but has been professionally rewired recently. Looking forward in time, the pendant was prepared to be equipped with a (circular) fluorescent lamp as well. If desired such a lamp could still easily be fitted into the fixture, as the clamps to hold the tube and the inlet to accommodate the glow switch starter are still present.
Dimensions: height from ceiling till drop 36.2 in. (92 cm). Height of the 'UFO' 5.3 inches (13.5 cm), diameter 18.5 inches (47 cm).
The representation of space travel and extraterrestrial life was arguably one of the most powerful notions in midcentury popular culture. Not only vehicles were designed to emulate rocket planes, but many objects in the domestic range were shaped as they would be ready for orbit as well. A popular concept for pendant lamps was that of the flying saucer, or Disco Volante as Italians would call it. The shape of this particular fixture was clearly derived from the imagery of UFO’s (in popular media) as well.
The Lumen Company even managed to enhance this image by adding some specific features to the lamp. First of all, the pendant is suspended by three remarkably thin tubes, which – each encasing one wire – give the impression that lamp hovers over the surface. Secondly, the main body of the lamp is equipped with archetypal portholes, which allow the light to shine both upwards and sideways. Finally, the fixture is fitted with a frosted glass shade to the underside, which radiates a dimmed light downwards.
Lumen was founded in 1936 by the illustrious designer Gino Sarfatti and two friends. Though Sarfatti soon left the firm to start his own company. So, Lumen not only predates Sarfatti’s Arteluce, but Stilnovo, Arredoluce and O’Luce as well. And just like the products of these companies, the Lumen fixtures belonged to the forefront of Italian lighting design during the 1950s.
Italian Pendant Lamp by Lumen Milano
Wear consistent with age and use.