A lamp with an unmistakable style and a veritable Kartell best seller; Ferrucio Laviani’s Bourgie admirably combines classicism, richness and tradition with innovation and irony. With a Baroque style, a wide shade with plissé effect that sets up a myriad play of reflections when lit and an attachment that allows it to be raised or lowered by the user, this is a lamp that is all about transformation. It is a decorative desk lamp and simple living room lighting, a sculpture but also a reading lamp that lends itself to many uses and as such is itself a strong communicator. It is no surprise that with the coming of its tenth anniversary of being in production, the team at Kartell decided to do something special for Bourgie.
This birthday celebration to pay tribute to twenty years of collaboration with Laviani and ten years of Bourgie, whilst also sparking the creative minds of the brilliant designers at Kartell, called for the team to reinterpret the lamp in a new and fun way. The result is a collection of 14 versions that are currently part of a travelling exhibition. The lamp has in the short time from 2004 to the present become somewhat of a veritable design icon, a transversal and eclectic lamp that shines in any context from the contemporary to the classic. As such, it was the perfect product to play with for designers Patricia Urquiola, Piero Lissoni, Front, Mario Bellini, Alberto Meda, Lenny Kravitz, Philippe Starck, Eugeni Quitllet, Christophe Pillet, Nendo, Tokujiin Yoshioka, Patrick Jouin, Ludovica+Roberto Palomba and Rodolfo Dordoni. Together they pushed the boundaries of design and suggested alternative interpretations and executions.
Starck chose an ironic interpretation, decorating the lamp with costume jewellery and stereotypically French symbols such as The Eiffel Tower, while Pillet dressed it in an elegant all black dress of matte felt. Front suggested a sort of genetic mutation, heating up its front to reshape, creating a lamp that leans over your shoulder to give you light whilst you read.
Urquiola disassembled Bourgie’s base and suspended its parts as a chandelier, deconstructing the lamp to reform it as a pendant light. Meanwhile, Bellini fashioned two into a standard lamp complete with coat hooks and umbrella stands. Nendo had a subversive take on the original, turning it upside down and rotating the silhouette, so that their two lamps together form a space that is the upside down Bourgie lamp. They also inverted the name, christening their sculptural piece ‘Eigruob’.
Quitlett gave a gift of the traditional lamp base with a birthday cake on top, ten candles for the ten years of production. Clearly it can be seen that each designer has reimagined the lamp and given it character, creating a new personality whilst retaining its original and distinctive charm. Perhaps what best sums up this celebration of design is the message on Jouin’s lamp, which reads ‘The Future is a Present from the Past’. Laviani himself views the project as ‘a manifesto whose key message is that ideas, culture and the differences of others can render the work of an individual more interesting and contemporary.’
Happy Birthday Bourgie – don’t forget to make a wish!