The Fascinating Design Story of George Nelson’s Iconic Bubble Table Lamp

If you’re a fan of interior design, you have likely come across George Nelson’s iconic Bubble Table Lamp. This timeless piece has been illuminating living spaces since its inception in 1947. But just what makes this lamp so unique? In this article, we will delve into the fascinating story of its design and explore why it has stood the test of time.

Design Concept:

George Nelson was a design director for Herman Miller, and he was known for his unique aesthetic that spoke to the needs of modern homes. His designs were minimalistic, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. The Bubble Lamp is no exception. The idea behind the Bubble Lamp was to create a lamp that looked like a glowing orb of light. Nelson’s inspiration for this design came from a set of Swedish lamps he saw at an exhibition.

Design Process:

The design process for the Bubble Lamp was anything but simple. Nelson and his team had to experiment with different materials, shapes, and sizes to get it just right. They began by creating a series of wire frames, and then they covered these frames with rice paper to create the illusion of a soft, glowing orb. After several prototypes, the final design was created using a process known as plastic swaging, which involves stretching plastic sheets over a mold.


One of the most fascinating aspects of the Bubble Lamp is the material used to create it. The outer shell of the lamp is made from a special polymer that is lightweight, durable, and easy to shape. This material is also UV resistant, which means it won’t yellow over time. The inner shade is made of a material called white plastic, which diffuses the light and creates a soft, glowing effect.

Size and Shapes:

The Bubble Lamp comes in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different spaces and design styles. The most popular shape is the sphere, which measures around 10 inches in diameter. However, there are also versions of the lamp that are cylindrical, pear-shaped, and saucer-shaped. The size of the lamp depends on the shape, with some models measuring as small as 8 inches and others as large as 50 inches in diameter.

The Bubble Lamp in Interior Design:

One of the reasons that the Bubble Lamp has remained so popular over the years is its versatility in interior design. It can be used in a wide range of settings and design styles, from mid-century modern to contemporary. Its soft, diffused light creates a cozy and warm atmosphere, making it perfect for bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.

George Nelson’s Bubble Table Lamp is an iconic design that has stood the test of time. Its unique shape and diffused light have captured the hearts of interior designers and homeowners alike. If you’re looking for a lamp that creates a cozy atmosphere in your home, the Bubble Lamp is a great option that will never go out of style.

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