Fase Model 520-C Desk Lamp
Materials: Black lacquered metal base. Chromed arm. Black lacquered metal lampshade. Glass diffuser. Some metal parts. 2 Bakelite sockets.
Height: 43 cm / 16.92”
Lampshade: ∅ 31 cm / 12.20”
Base: ∅ 22 cm / 8.66”
Electricity: 2 bulbs E27, 2 x 60 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Luis Pérez de la Oliva.
Manufacturer: Fase, Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain.
Other versions: Fase produced many lamps in this style. This model is 520 C, the C stands for Crystal. It was made in many colours. The lamp can rotate 360 degrees on the heavy base. Also the lampshade can turn left and right. In 1975 the price for this lamp was almost 10 euro/dollar.
The Fase company was founded by self-made man Pedro Martin and designer Luis Pérez de la Oliva in 1964, some sources say 1966. The Boomerang lamp was one of their first designs. Initially they sold their self-produced lamps to the markets in and around the capital Madrid before successfully opening a factory in Torrejón de Ardoz on the outskirts of the city.
They produced mainly lamps, but also ashtrays and other products such as office bins and coat racks.
Fase supplied many lamps to the offices of General Franco‘s dictatorial government and the Guardia Civil, some sort of military police. From 1975 on, after the death of Franco and the end of the regime, Fase started with Italian Modern and Bauhaus-inspired designs. The Spaniards were unfamiliar with this design because of the Franco regime that ruled the country with an iron fist and allowed few foreign influences.
During the 70s Fase exported lamps to Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Norway, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Hong Kong, Morocco, the United States and Canada. In total in more than 32 countries.
In the 1980s Fase jumped on the bandwagon of the halogen lighting. The break with tradition proved unsuccessful and ultimately contributed to the end of the business. A large fine of the Treasury in the early nineties for tax irregularities was the end for Fase. The company was officially dissolved in 1996.
Drowned, the company sold its manufacturing license to a German brand, Ma-Of, which slightly modified the original design by adding more chrome. Before these final death rattles, the partners had already separated. Luis Pérez de la Oliva had created his own brand Lupela, another flagship of Spanish design. GEI (Gabinete Estudios Industriales – Cabinet Industrial Studies) was another company that sold similar lamps. Also Massive from Belgium produced a few lamps in this style.
When the company stopped producing them abruptly, there was a lot of ‘stock’ available in the warehouses. That’s why you find relatively many lamps with a label attached. Many lamps are sold new and never used in the box (NOS – New Old Stock).
Designers that worked for the company are amongst others: Gabriel Teixidó. He designed the Iberia and Meca series and Tomás Díaz Magro, responsible for the Apolo, Minifase and Impala lamps. The most productive was Luis Pérez de la Oliva, who designed the majority of the Fase lamps.
Fase also sold lamps made by others such as the Yamada Shomei ‘Manon’ table lamp from Japan. You can find it over here on Vintageinfo. The Prisma table lamp was produced in Italy by F.A.A.I. Arredo. Also the Sinus stacking ashtray made by Helit from Germany. A design by Walter Zeischegg from 1967. You can find it here in the MoMA, New York. Fase also sold lamps from other companies.
Lamps in the movies
The Fase lamps were used as a prop in many films. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Mad Man-TV series (2007-2015), Atomic Blonde (2017), Made In Dagenham (2010), La Fôret-TV series (2017), many Almodóvar films, and so on.
A similar lamp, something in between a Hillebrand lamp and a Fase lamp was used as a prop in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia With Love. A year before the Fase company was founded. The James Bond movie was partially filmed in Spain… If it is not a Fase lamp, then maybe we know where they got their inspiration.
The starship Enterprise from the Star Trek TV series (1966) has many similarities with the Fase lamps. Was Gene Roddenberry inspired by Fase or is it a coincidence?
James Bond – From Russia With Love – 1963
Used as a prop in Atomic Blonde (2017), an American action thriller spy film directed by David Leitch.
Used as a prop in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). The well known American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and the fourth installment in the Indiana Jones series.