Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting celebrates lighting devices—innovative, practical, delightful, and fun. Over the past 100 years, the field of lighting design has been a catalyst for technological and artistic expression.
The exhibition examines lighting as a transforming force in daily life and in major design movements. From the first electric light in the early 1800s to energy-efficient bulbs in the 21st century, lighting technology has fascinated engineers, scientists, architects, and designers worldwide.
Rare and limited-production examples by the world’s leading designers are presented in three sections, organized by theme rather than chronologically. “Typologies” focuses on different types of lighting, from desk lamps to chandeliers; “The Bulb” addresses the importance and design of the lightbulb, from basic to whimsical; and “Quality of Light” considers the manipulation of light effects, including reflection, diffusion, and light-filled sculpture.
Amplifying the works on view are three large-scale immersive experiences. Among the designers represented in Electrifying Design are Achille Castiglioni, Christian Dell, DRIFT, Greta Magnusson Grossman, Poul Henningsen, Ingo Maurer, Verner Panton, Gaetano Pesce, Gino Sarfatti, Ettore Sottsass, and Wilhelm Wagenfeld.
*Image #1: Martine Bedin, manufactured by Memphis Milano, Super Lamp, designed c. 1978, made c. 1980s, fiberglass, enamel, steel, rubber, and 40-watt incandescent bulbs, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Design Council, 2020. © 1978 Martine Bedin
**Image #2: Mega Chandelier by Moooi Works, manufactured by Moooi, 2018, mixed media and bulbs. © Moooi, New York