Friday Finds! Vive La France! Innovative and Measured Design


Wall light in polished brass, walnut and white perspex (circa 1960) by Robert Mathieu


The 1950s and 60s was a particularly prolific period of optimism and creativity  for French designers. We are seeing more focus on French design of this era and it is definitely a market to watch. Robert Mathieu (1921-2002) is one of the most interesting, and perhaps least known of the designers working in this period. His production was small as he manufactured his own designs. 
We saw this wall light (c.1960) by Mathieu in a Parisian gallery which is known for creating the market for lighting. It is functional and beautiful, simple and inspired.  Its sleek system of delicate counterbalance, using a simple pulley system to adjust the height, gives the user complete flexibility. The light switch is weighted on the electrical wire as you can see in the second image. It could be used as a reading light next to an armchair or placed on the wall above a desk. Its white perspex shade was innovative for its time with its ability to reflect light. It is a highly collectible piece.
Mathieu originally trained as a watchmaker and it is the organic and symbiotic nature of the creative impulse which interests us here with his development towards lighting design. With his personal vision he took his knowledge and applied it to the field of lighting design.  You can feel Mathieu’s fascination with balance, mechanism and function in the simple almost clock-like workings of this light and this was reflected in the name of his production company,  ‘R. Mathieu Luminaires Rationnel’. Please click here to see another of Mathieu’s lights in an earlier post.
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