Louis Kalff Bijou Desk Lamp
Materials: Dark green metallic painted aluminium mushroom lampshade with a hole in the middle, painted white on the inside. Brass parts, brass tripod base. Dark green metallic painted conical plastic rod, metal rod inside. Dark green metallic painted lamp socket holder. Bakelite or metal socket.
Height: 31 cm / 12.20”
Width: ∅ 28,5 cm / 11.22”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 75 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used. But, preferably a silver cup/crown/bowl light bulb. However, a gold cup light bulb is just a bit more beautiful, also when not lit. Only for the table lamps with brass or gold coloured parts.
Period: 1950s, 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: Louis Christiaan Kalff (1897 – 1976).
Manufacturer: Philips, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Other versions: The first edition from the 1950s has slight differences in the lampshade and the base as you can see below. The Louis Kalff Bijou desk lamp exists in many colours and wad made in some slight variations.
A similar table lamp with a brass rod in stead of the conical middle part is named Minou S, the later version is named Minou 69.
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 and was simply 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, taking 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 was 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 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.
Early version (1950s) with a more rounded lampshade and a different tripod base, also on Vintageinfo: Louis Kalff Bijou Table Lamp
Lamps in the movies
A Louis Kalff Bijou desk lamp was used as a prop in the 2019 French comedy-drama film Nous Finirons Ensemble (We will finish together). This tragicomedy is the sequel to the Les Petits Mouchoirs (the small handkerchiefs) blockbuster from 2010. The English title of the film is Little White Lies. Starring François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard and Benoît Magimel.
A Louis Kalff Bijou desk lamp appeared in the TV program “Voor de mannen” (For the men) at the Belgian station Canvas in September 2018.