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Is this a really cool lamp, or a reason to feel bad about your career achievements so far? Can’t it be both? This postmodern banker’s lamp was designed by Robert Sonneman for George Kovacs in 1990. Less known than his other, Sottsass-inspired banker’s lamp, we love this one for its building block construction and the disarming way it plays with the current trend for mixed metals. Over the years, we have seen quite a few Sonneman designs grace the DEN showroom, so it feels fitting to share a little about his career with our audience. Something of a wunderkind, Sonneman burst onto the lighting scene at age 23 with the Orbiter lamp. He’d begun working at George Kovacs only a year earlier, in 1966, and by all accounts the older Kovacs had pretty much told Sonneman to go wild and see what happened. The resulting lamp was a functionalist thesis statement. Its rotating components were able to direct light towards any point in a hemispherical range, and it also fit right in with the Space Age zeitgeist of the late 60s. Many creatives are loath to examine their early work, but Sonneman still speaks fondly of the Orbiter in interviews, maintaining to this day that the design is illustrative of his philosophy and process. In the 80s and 90s he did a lot of work outside of his collaboration with Kovacs, including the Hashi Table for Brueton in 1986 (10/10, would add to my personal collection), a line of up- and down-lights that resembled architectural moulding (…the 80s…), and even sparking a minor controversy with a line of Arts + Crafts-inspired furniture for Stanley Furniture in 1991. But it is his work with Kovacs, who marketed his designs until the family sold ownership of the company to China in 2003, for which Sonneman his best known. Swipe to see a selection and let us know in the comments which is your fave. Always an early adapter, and identifying as more of an entrepreneur than a designer, Sonneman today focuses on LED technology. His designs are still winning accolades and he is 76…so it is now time to go reconsider your life choices! xoxo


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