Machine Gun Lamp
A harmless everyday object that assumes the form of a deadly weapon, the Gun table lamp created by Philippe Starck (b. 1949) is the popular French designer’s loudest political statement in a career full of them. Designed for prominent Italian lighting manufacturer FLOS as part of a series of weapon replicas — a Beretta pistol, an M16 rifle and, in this case, a Kalashnikov AK-47 — the Gun table lamp is cast in aluminum and finished in chrome or polished 18-karat gold. Starck's dimmable fixture uses a medium frosted halogen bulb and is topped off with a silk-screened plasticized paper shade replete with crosses.
At 19 years old in 1968, Starck produced his first piece of furniture — the Francesca Spanish chair. As an interior designer, his commissions have included nightclubs, Café Costes in Paris and apartments for French President François Mitterrand in the Élysée Palace. A prolific product designer of everything from bathroom fittings to watches to staplers to wall coverings, Starck is deeply concerned with sustainability and the ecological implications of his work, and he has brought a democratic and subversive design ethos to mass-market goods over his long career.
Currently, 20 percent of proceeds from sales of the Gun table lamp is donated to anti-poverty nonprofit group Frères des Hommes, which supports social democracy, small-scale agriculture and more around the world. Still in production at FLOS, the provocative fixture — a metaphorical domestication of a weapon — simultaneously confronts violence and consumerism. “I imagined the Gun lamp as a Kalashnikov to represent war, I chose gold to represent money, the black lampshade with crosses inside as a reminder of our lost ones,” says Starck.
Machine Gun Lamp
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