Sunday, October 12, 2008

Triple Overlay Lamp in Context

Plan View

Detail Perspective

Designed with, not only aesthetic, but also technological advancement in mind, the monumental triple overlay lamp is a commodity in itself. Seldom manufactured anymore, this lamp sparked an otherwise foreign movement in lamp making. Ornate and fragile, the overlay lamp belongs in a space rich with history, and conducive to knowledge attain. In other words, a revival Gothic library would be highly suitable for housing the lamp.

Produced around the period of American Gothic Revival, the lamp is an example of the process that is community building. Manufactured in Sandwich, Massachusetts, by the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, this late 19th century piece, as well as other lamps was the source of employment for numerous workers. As the company expanded, so did the occupational needs, and thus the town as well. The lamp was a beacon of knowledge and innovation; it is only proper that the space should evoke such similarities. The library would pay homage to the advancements of the lamp, as well as the history in its wake.

It was after the introduction of Kerosene lamps, that the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company embarked on creating a lamp composed of layered glass. The ornate design, as well as the rich, luminous quality suggests that the lamp stands as a spatial focal point. Though situated in the corner of the room, the lamp causes the viewer to locate the source of contrast in the space, the colorful and bright lamp. Due to this concept, it is appropriate that the neighboring decor should contribute to the hierarchy of objects, rather than distract the attention. Via neutral colors and solid wood, the rest of the room remains subdued in order to please the complexity of the lamp. On the other hand, the lamp illuminates and highlights the features of the surrounding space. Also, the layers of the glass are reflected in the layers of wood trim and heavy drapery. The two work together to form a cohesive environment.

Though a reflection of the past, lamps such as the Monumental Triple Overlay provide insight and direction into the future of design. The individual lamp may no longer be produced, but the notion of designing for advancement and aesthetics lives on.

Perhaps most similar in concept, to the Overlay lamp, is the Candelabrum. Though an earlier light source, the candelabrum and the lamp possess ornate qualities. They are more focal points, rather than strong means of illumination. It is also important to note the progression of each piece; they were both technological advancements of the time and further shaped the lighting world.

Though both evoke a sense of the past, the Overlay lamp and the Tiki lamp are rather different. The later of the two is theme oriented and much more assessable than the rare Overlay Lamp. Also, the Overlay lamp was considered an advancement in both aesthetics and technology, something that would be questioned in the case of the Tiki Lamp.


-Cape Cod Travel. Incredibly Rare Sandwich Glass:

-Virginia Museum of Fine Arts:

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