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What is an Artichoke Lamp?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2014
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Artichoke lamps are contemporary lamps designed to mimic the simple yet visually appealing lines of an artichoke. By incorporating the graceful dimensions of the common artichoke, it is possible to create a lighting accessory that is ideal for use as a table lamp, wall mounted lamps, and even as overhead lighting. First designed in 1958, the general idea behind his type of lamp has caught the attention of designers everywhere, with several variations on the original artichoke lamp design available today.

The original artichoke lamp was designed by Poul Henningsen, and was first released in 1958. This particular incarnation of the lamp was specifically for use as overhead lighting. The layers of overlapping sections that resembled the leaves of the artichoke lamp made it possible to create the effect of a chandelier, but with a contemporary twist. The design quickly became a favorite in many design circles, and has remained popular to this day.

Along with the original Poul Henningsen artichoke lamp, it is also possible to purchase table lamps in the same general lighting design. Typically, lamps of this type sport a base that is in the shape of the artichoke plant. The lamps may be relatively tall and partnered with a traditional barrel type lampshade, or be somewhat short and topped with some type of contemporary shade. The choice of lamp materials often includes a mixture of wood, metal, ceramic, and plaster, depending on the complexity of the overall design.

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Today, there are even wall lamps that sport the general shape of an artichoke. As with the original chandelier design, the graceful arrangement of the individual leaves makes this type of lamp ideal for use in contemporary settings where a combination of formal and casual is desirable. Wall-mounted artichoke lamps can be used to create points of light around a room when the use of floor or table lamps is impractical or not in keeping with the general décor of the space.

Designer lamps of this type, especially originals dating from the 1958-1972 era, can be extremely expensive. For people who want the look of an artichoke lamp, but cannot afford original designs, it is possible to obtain plans for homemade versions. These often involve using plaster and molds to create the basic artichoke design, then using a lamp kit to make the shape functional as a lighting option. Plans of this type can be found online, as well as purchased in many craft stores.

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OeKc05
Post 4

I've seen some brown artichoke lamps that look more like pineapples. If you don't make the lamp green, it's kind of hard to distinguish between the two.

giddion
Post 3

@Kristee – I actually like contemporary artichoke pendant lamps. I don't care that they don't exactly look like the vegetable. To me, they are very stylish and unusual.

I have a pink one in my living room. It makes a very dramatic conversation piece. Most people have never seen anything like it.

It hangs down from the ceiling by a chain. This makes it even more noticeable than if it had been attached to the ceiling directly or mounted on a table somewhere. When something is hanging in midair, you can't help but look at it.

cloudel
Post 2

My grandmother has an artichoke table lamp that looks like the actual vegetable. It's green, ceramic, and detailed.

The base of the lamp is the artichoke shape. It is medium sized, and my grandmother chose to put a light green shade on top of it. The whole thing makes me crave a salad!

Kristee
Post 1

I think that the modern hanging artichoke lamps are ugly. They really look nothing like artichokes!

Instead, they are just a bunch of silver slats arranged to curve down and out. It looks as if someone just chopped up several squares of metal and hung them around each other.

I greatly prefer the artichoke lamps of the past. They were much more elegant, and they held true to their name.

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