Hot or not? See how Sabine Marcelis reimagined the iconic lava lamp.
Synonymous with ’60s decor, shaggy rugs and patchwork beanbags, lava lamps don’t necessarily have a good wrap in the decor realm.
With its psychedelic colours and unfavourable retro connections, it’s safe to say the lava lamp has fallen out of fashion a long time ago.
Yet, a redesign by designer Sabine Marcelis has recently put this outdated lighting fixture pack in the limelight.
Working with Mathmos, the makers of the original lava lamp, Marcelis reimagined the lamp to mark the design’s 60th anniversary.
Akin to a magic lamp in this story, it was a lava lamp that kickstarted Marcelis’s fascination with design at a young age when she first saw one at a friend’s house.
“‘I would just stare at it, I was fascinated by its magical dance,’ says Marcelis. “I couldn’t understand how they worked, what was inside them; they looked like alien creatures. It’s maybe even the first design I witnessed that wasn’t purely functional; a lamp, but also an art piece.”
Years later, Marcelis has now reimagined the very lamp.
Keeping the lamp’s distinctive rocket-like silhouette (the only design requirement), Marcelis worked to create something timeless yet unexpected to create a lamp with a truly magical effect.
“I wanted to strip the housing of as much identity as possible by turning it into a blank white canvas: no logo, no gloss finish to reflect its surroundings, just a vessel to house the magic within,” she says.
The reimagined lamp now merges Marcelis’s unique take on colour and visual effects with the original shape that’s all white when turned off and a vibrant yellow when turned on.
“I wanted to enhance the idea of mystery by etching the bottle so that the lava liquid becomes veiled behind a haze,” she explains. “The movement is made more subtle and the light is diffused as a pleasant atmospheric light. I feel like this was really an exercise in how to add my signature to something that already has such a strong signature.”