Seven Light Fixtures That Look at History With a Contemporary Eye

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

For product design to move forward, sometimes it has to look backward. That’s the logic Italian lighting brand Karman applied to its latest collection, which references historical, traditional and archetypal objects and ornament with modern twists.


NotreDame is named for the famous cathedral for good reason: Its lace-doily pattern, rendered in resin and marble dust, is modeled after rose patterns typically seen in gothic cathedrals. Portions look as if they’ve been broken off to present an asymmetrical form that alludes to architectural remnants. Two versions are offered (shapes 1B and 2B) in pendant, ceiling fixture and wall light models.


The classic milk bucket one encounters on farms was the inspiration for the cheeky Via Lattea (which is Italian for Milky Way) floor lamp. Unlike the real thing, however, this bucket is made of concrete with a natural finish — which lends it an industrial, modern feel — and projects light upward via a single LED or CFL source. The indoor decorative lamp, completed with a metal handle, comes in a single size of 14.5 inches high with an 8.75-inch diameter.

Via Lattea

Concrete also puts a Brutalist spin on the romantic candelabra silhouette in the Don Gino table lamp. Recalling curvy and ornate candlestick holders from the Victorian era, it instead holds a faux candle that can be fitted with an LED or incandescent E12 flame-shaped bulb. Two sizes are available: 15.75 inches high or 22 inches high.

Don Gino

Similarly, the Amarcord lamp channels old-fashioned oil lamps but with a more modern, cube-shaped base in natural or white concrete. On the natural concrete model, the shade comes in smoke glass; for the white concrete, the shade is clear glass. Amarcord is available as a table lamp or wall sconce.


Two of the new designs, Aprile and Capodimonte, sport intricate floral embellishments popularized by 18th-century porcelain objects and elements. The former is a whimsical fish where raised floral patterning replaces fish scales and leaves take the place of fins and tail. The wall fixture’s glowing eye houses a single LED bulb. Capodimonte, meanwhile, boasts a cake garnish–like floral relief on a cylindrical pendant. Both of these luminaires are white ceramic.



And finally, Ceraunavolta 2 is a dramatic chandelier with a light source at its center and a cluster of mismatched, ornate blown-glass vessels functioning collectively as a diffuser. Installed, the chandelier has a total diameter of approximately 23.75 inches.

Ceraunavolta 2

“This is an evocative collection that bridges memory and modern design,” said Larry Lazin, CEO of Global Lighting, North America’s exclusive distributor for these luminaires. “Karman is resolute in honoring the history of design while exploring materials that give their lights a contemporary edge.”