There’s a lamp, and then there’s a lamp. George Sowden, whose colorful designs fall into the italicized category, advocates for sculptural designs and industrial processes without sacrificing either. Following the runaway success of his PL1 Portable Table Lamp in 2011, the Memphis Group founding member expanded the product to create an entire lighting collection of his signature expressive designs in table and pendant lights, in addition to an all-new portable lamp style. The designer’s newest collection made its debut at Milan Design Week in 2022, and debuts in the MoMA Design Store, its exclusive retail partner, starting today, March 8.
It was Sowden’s everyday need for a new prototype that sparked the concept for his latest collection. “To make the model of the shade, I decided to use silicone because it was quick, precise, and a relatively inexpensive way to do it,” he says. “By doing this, I discovered that the silicone had an extraordinary quality of light diffusion; it was this unexpected surprise which was the beginning of the Sowden lighting collection.”
This collection starts at $149 and tops out at $499. Affordability is a core tenet of these products—after all, it was the PL1 Portable Table Lamp’s $79 price point that was a part of its commercial appeal. And that’s not all: George Sowden’s designs are long-lasting and easy to clean, making them the kind of lighting you’ll actually feel comfortable leaving out for a lively dinner party. All the portable designs charge easily through a USB cord, and pendants and standing lamps from the new collection feature sleek black cords and bases so that the colors stay center stage. The collection’s range of colors features a very versatile orange, a cool maroon, and lots of turquoise. Those apprehensive of bright combinations will naturally gravitate to cool white combinations, which feel timeless enough for more neutrally-inclined spaces.
Every piece in the collection has one thing in common: a contrast-color shade made of silicon. Turns out, this flexible and nontoxic material is a favorite of Sowden’s for its natural light diffusion. He’s been drawn to silicon since 2020, when he noticed the material’s ability to radiate light without sacrificing the simplicity of his designs’ configurations. Experimentation, an open-minded approach, and an unabashed eye for color have long been distinguishing features of the designer’s process.
“We’re delighted to support Sowden’s latest venture into lighting and our continued mission of democratizing good design,” shares Emmanuel Plat, Director of Merchandising, MoMA Retail. “It’s an accessible range of cheerful lamps that are sure to bring joy to MoMA Design Store retail customers and wholesale partners alike.” Looking for a lamp that marries function and design without spending half your rent? Head to MoMA Design Store online or store locations in New York now.