It's hard to imagine something so humble as a lampshade stirring up a design frenzy—especially something most closely associated with your grandmother's plastic-covered furniture and dusty old apartments. But that's just what happened when Sicilian interior designer and artist Oscar Piccolo casually posted an origami-like paper version on his . The shade got picked up by Sight Unseen, then Vogue and New York magazine, and then sold out.
Piccolo's design isn't just any lampshade—and it's definitely not like the cheap bargain basement ones you'll find at your local linen store. At once sculptural and delicate, the toppers function as art pieces when turned on, casting ethereal shadows and playing tricks with the light. And they're just as pretty when not in use. New York said that they look like overgrown cocktail umbrellas, and while that's true, the description unfairly downplays their elegance. “I wanted to make a subtle lamp that's not too imposing, Piccolo told Vogue back in September. "One that's beautiful even when it's off."
The lampshade is one of a legion of pleated shades that are making a comeback since the style's heyday in the Victorian era. We don't have to tell you about the popularity of now-iconic Noguchi lampshades, which have enjoyed their own renaissance thanks to the dominance of midcentury modern in the last decade. Everyone from ceramicists to industrial designers are getting in on the act (Colombia-based designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen, Spanish designer Arturo Alvarez, and Brooklyn clay magician Forrest Lewinger of Workaday Handmade have all contributed their takes on the concept), and we can only imagine the myriad versions that will emerge once the influences of Memphis and Italian-modern styles have met with the new trend toward maximalism.
Interior designers are also embracing the aesthetic. "I love to add a decorative touch with a fancier shade, whether it's a silk pleat or silk string," says New York designer . "The way the light shows through the folds or strings is soft and beautiful."
One thing is clear: No one will ever look at a simple lampshade the same way.
Follow CQ on .