Philips Romeo Desk Lamp
Materials: Round grey painted metal base with a built-in switch. Cast iron counterweight inside the base. Philips logo stamped in the base. Grey, almost silver painted aluminium mushroom, UFO style lampshade with a whole in the middle. Painted white inside. Folded chromed brass rod and parts. Bakelite E27 socket.
Height: 41,5 cm / 16.33”
Width: ∅ 28,5 cm / 11.22”
Base: ∅ 11,5 cm /4.52”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 100 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb with an E27 socket can be used. For this lamp preferable a silver tipped light bulb for the down-light effect.
Period: 1960s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: The Philips design team.
Manufacturer: S.A. Philips N.V., Brussels, Belgium.
Other versions: Slight differences in the lampshade, rod and base. Many different colours. Often named z-lamp, because of the folded rod. Several other Philips lamps are named Z-lamps, but they all have a another name. They were never named Z-lamps by Louis Kalff or Philips.
This lamp is based on a design by Louis Kalff from the 1950s, the Junior desk lamp, as you can see below. The design of the Romeo desk lamp was probably approved by Louis Kalff, he retired in 1960, but held an advisory role. It is unlikely that he designed it himself. It is the more modern version of its design.
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 May 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. He 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 40 years at the Philips group.
Lamps in the movies!
A Philips Romeo desk lamp was used as a prop in the “cyberpunk action body horror” film Upgrade from 2018. A futuristic thriller with Logan Marshall-Green.
Unit 42 (2017)
A Philips Romeo desk lamp was used as a prop in the in the 2017 Belgian television series Unit 42. Starring Patrick Ridremont, Constance Gay and Tom Audenaert. Many other lamps appear in the series.