Cool light: mid-century modern-inspired contemporary floor lamps


Like a bit of 1950s-style cool? Make a statement with a contemporary mid-century modern-style floor lamp... 

The 1950s and 60s saw an incredible burst of design creativity, with manufacturers in the USA and Europe producing new kinds of products that aspired to a perfect blend of style and technology while catering to a growing consumer market fed by mass production.

Image credit

AJ floor lamp - Image credit

These ideas – which we tend to lump together under the term ‘mid-century modern’ – found ideal expression in furniture and lighting. And that style – reminiscent of Mad Men-era New York, the space race and Italian café culture – has never gone out of fashion for long.

The SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, with modernist furniture by Arne Jacobsen. Note the iconic AJ floor in the corner. Image credit.

If you fancy bringing a bit of that 1950s cool into your home but without going to the full retro extreme, then why not try a mid-century-inspired contemporary floor lamp? In an otherwise minimalist interior it can make a striking statement – or if you’ve already got a few modernist touches - desk lamps or artworks, say – it will set them off beautifully. Here are ours...

The Galore floor lamp in brass

A clear descendant of the iconic AJ floor light with a similar angled shade and sleek modernist lines, but whereas Jacobsen’s classic was made of cast iron and aluminium, the Galore is a lovely contemporary brass.

At 135cm it’s tall enough to be a statement piece, but it’s a bit warmer than the traditional AJ, making it ideal for a cosy reading nook.

The Galore floor lamp - shop here.

You can choose from a black or white version – and if you want a table lamp to go with it, then the very mid-century Drax is perfectly matched.

Drax table light - shop here

The Astaire floor lamp in antiqued silver

Astaire floor lamp - shop here

Our Astaire is a really solid, bold, brass task light, a substantial 155cm tall and finished in an antiqued silver. You’d probably call it postmodern, since the mid-century style of the shade is offset by big taps to change angle and direction – putting the Astaire just about at the point where modernism meets that contemporary industrial look.

It also comes with a white shade, which is even more overtly mid-century in its slightly space-age feel:

Astaire floor lamp in brass with a white hood

And if you like the style, match with some Astaire wall lights...

Astaire wall light

....or perhaps a Milne desk light.


Milne desk light

Interested in mid-century modernism? Check out our History of Design in Table Lamps part 4: The Midcentury Modern, and also our post: Arco lamps and Artichokes: The art of midcentury modern lighting design.

Browse our full range of floor lamps here.