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Read ‘em and weep Max Bill fans!

The Figuration series, from which this table lamp hails, is a collection of variants featuring opal glass globes mounted on white-enameled rods clustered or wrapped, helix-style, around a central column and mod tulip base, produced by German-Swiss lighting company Temde Leuchten. They remain some of the sleekest designs in the known catalog of Temde’s production, which, while always modern, tended towards bohemian extravagance and warm wood tones.

The collection was designed by Eva René Nele Bode, a prominent German sculptor, born in 1932 in war-torn Kassel, Germany. Her father, Arnold Bode, was a lifelong progressive who had been hounded by the Nazi Party. As a Postwar retaliation against the legacy of fascism, he founded the ongoing group art exhibition Documenta, which utilized public space throughout Kassel to showcase modern art, just as the city was being rebuilt in a modern style. Modernism had been branded “degenerate” by the Third Reich, so its implementation during this period was a symbolic repudiation of that legacy, and a conciliatory – if naive – a gesture towards the international community. Influenced by this complex socio-political milieu, as well as her father’s belief in art, social democracy, and modern architecture, Nele worked as a designer while perfecting her sculpture, contributing pieces to her father’s Documenta Exhibitions II and III.

In contrast to her art, which is overtly political and highly reliant on the human form, Nele’s Space Age lamps resemble futuristic armor, molecular structures, and alien life. They also don’t resemble Max Bill’s constructivist works in the slightest. 

Thanks to Instagram account @eye_me_mine for posting the vintage publication crediting Ms. Nele (way back in 2014!) so we could finally put this one to rest. The internet is full of far greater sleuths than I and I’m eternally grateful to those who share their knowledge.

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