The Bellevue lamp from 1929 is Arne Jacobsen’s earliest known lamp design. With its simple, organic lines, the lamp is an early example of Arne Jacobsen’s ability to capture contemporary trends and manifest them in elegant and sculptural form.
During the 1920s, public demands to design and architecture changed radically, and lighting design too underwent significant transformation. Arne Jacobsen was one of the first Danish architects to pick up on this new style, which replaced ornamentation and expensive, hand-crafted details with a simple, honest expression. In 1930, when he designed a modernist functionalist home for the Rothenborg family, he furnished it with designs by leading contemporary modernists. In this interior, the Bellevue lamp appeared alongside furniture by international modernists Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), Le Corbusier (1887-1965) and Arne Jacobsen himself.
As with everything else Arne Jacobsen designed, the purpose was both functional and aesthetic. Arne Jacobsen gave the characteristic lampshade a 45-degree angle to prevent glare. This was a key concern during the 1920s, when new and more affordable incandescent light bulbs were coming onto the market that produced a starker, brighter light – an issue that was a particular focus for the Danish lighting designer and social critic Poul Henningsen (1894-1967), who was a contemporary of Arne Jacobsen.
With the Bellevue lamp Arne Jacobsen had also produced a modern, sculptural design that was a match for modern home interiors. In 2013, the lamp was relaunched by &Tradition, which named it after Arne Jacobsen’s famous ‘white town’ Bellevue on the coast north of Copenhagen.
Sources: Arne Jacobsen Design Archives. / Arne Jacobsen’s scrapbooks. The Royal Library – Danish Art Library. / Stenum Poulsen, K., Skaarup Larsen, A., & Staunsager, S. (2020). Arne Jacobsen – Designing Denmark. Kolding: Trapholt. / Thau, C., & Vindum, K. (1998). Arne Jacobsen. Copenhagen: Danish Architectural Press.