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Leather Philips Desk Lamp

Materials: Round black leather base. Round white painted metal rod. Round white metal lampshade with a hole in the middle, covered with black leather on the side. 2 ornamental chrome nuts on top. Some metal parts. Bakelite E27 socket.

Height: 42,5 cm / 16.73”

Width: ∅ 36 cm / 14.17”

Base: ∅ 20,5 cm / 8.07”

Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 100 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, but a big silver tipped bulb is preferred. There is a difference in size between 60 and 100 watt incandescent light bulbs.

Period: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer:  The Philips Design Team.

Manufacturer: Philips, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Other versions: The Leather Philips desk lamp was also made with maroon and brown leather.

As with so many leather lamps, also this one is almost always attributed to famous French designer Jacques Adnet. It is not of course. The design of this lamp is based on a Louis Kalff design. The two chrome nuts and the hole in the middle of the lampshade can also be found on the Decora and Diplomat desk lamps. These lamps were made from the late 60s until the early 80s. Louis Kalff retired in 1960.

Koninklijke Philips N.V.

Inspired by the fast-growing electricity industry and the promising results of Gerard Philips own experiments to make reliable carbon filaments, Frederik Philips (his father) financed the purchase of a modest factory in Eindhoven, The Netherlands in 1891. Frederik Philips was a Jewish banker based in Zaltbommel.

In 1895, after difficult first four years and near bankruptcy, Anton Philips joined the company. He was Gerard’s younger brother. With Anton’s arrival, the family business began to expand rapidly. The brothers changed their family business by founding the Philips corporation. They laid the foundations for the later electronics multinational.

In 1930 the first shaver of the Philips company was introduced. It was called “The Philishave“.

A day before the German invasion in the Netherlands on 9 Mai 1940, the Philips family fled to the United States of America. They took a large amount of the company capital with them.

Operating from the US as the North American Philips Company, they managed to run the company throughout the war. After World War II the company moved back to the Netherlands, with their headquarters in Eindhoven.

Louis Christiaan Kalff (Amsterdam, November 14th 1897 – Waalre, September 16th, 1976)

Louis Kalff was a pioneering industrial designer in the Netherlands during the first half of the 20th century. With a solid background including studies in sculpture, ceramics, furniture design and architecture, he began to work for the Philips company in 1924, department consumer electronics company marketing.

In 1929 he started a department for design of lighting products (LIBU – Lichtadviesbureau (Dutch for light consultancy). Louis Kalff was responsible for the lighting sections of the World Exhibitions in Barcelona, Antwerp and Paris.

As a freelancer, he also designed posters and advertising for the Holland America Line, Calvé, Zeebad Scheveningen, Holland Radio and others. Louis Kalff also designed book covers.

After World War II Kalff kept himself active in industrial design for Philips. After his retirement in 1960, Louis Kalff stayed with Philips as a consultant and architect. In 1961 he was given the direction and execution of the Evoluon building in Eindhoven. It was the last work of the light architect who almost worked for forty years at the Philips group.

VLM Components

The wiring, plug, switch and socket of this leather Philips desk lamp are always made by VLM Components from Buccinasco near Milan, Italy. Therefore they are easy to date. You can find these table lamps with electric parts from the late sixties until the early eighties. This one is from the early 80s, to see on the used parts.

VLM Components became famous for the switches they produce since 1968, designed by Achille Castiglioni. You can find them over here.

VLM is part of the Relco Group, founded in 1967. Today they are the owners of the brands RelcoLeuciRelco LightingVLM Components and Segno.