This lamp was created by one of our most renowned Belgian avant-garde artists. Marcel-Louis Baugniet introduced geometric abstraction into Belgium and made his ‘social furniture’ accessible to everyone. With this standard lamp, he reduced the lamp to its purest essence. Acquired by the Marie-Jeanne Dauchy Fund, it will contribute to illustrating the history of Belgian design at the Design Museum Brussels.
Form in the service of function
The Marie-Jeanne Dauchy Fund purchased this standard lamp because it perfectly incarnates the formal language of ‘Pure plastic art’ practiced by Marcel-Louis Baugniet (1896-1995) and geometric abstraction, which he introduced into Belgium. Functionality and pure lines are primordial and, thanks to these and simple geometry, Baugniet reduced the lamp to its absolute essence.
As an avant-garde artist, Baugniet had a committed vision of art, design and society. Convinced of the necessity of simplicity and perfection to live in harmony, he made his furniture accessible to the less well-off. This lamp in lacquered green metal and brass is an example of the quality and modernity of the furniture that he had mass-produced in order to make it affordable. Yet, despite his efforts, Baugniet’s furniture did not reach the public for which he had designed it. In 1937, he presented in Paris his famous Standax furniture, ‘social furniture’ composed of models that could be fitted together, but their success was primarily among an elite.
An avant-garde artist
Born in Liege, the artist, designer, art critic and philosopher Marcel-Louis Baugniet was one of Belgium’s principal avant-garde artists. As a constructivist painter, he lent his name to a considerable number of posters, theatre costumes and stage sets. Between 1922 and 1928, he contributed to the Brussels modernist revue 7 Arts, promoting geometric abstraction.
The formal language of this ‘Pure plastic art’ is reflected in his furniture. Baugniet turned to the decorative arts from the early 1920s. In 1927 he opened a furniture design publishing house L’Intérieur Moderne, together with the Dutch architect
Ewaud Van Tonderen. Three years later, he created his own interior design company, Baugniet et Cie, which remained in business until the 1970s.
He made the standard lamp acquired by the Marie-Jeanne Dauchy Fund around 1950, the same year in which the Formes Nouvelles group, of which he was a member, was founded. Formes Nouvelles focused on social housing, where architecture and interior design went hand in hand.