This Instagram-Famous Floor Lamp Is So Much More Than a Passing Trend

Hadley Mendelsohn
·4 min read
Photo credit: Haris Kenjar
Photo credit: Haris Kenjar

From House Beautiful

Because social media creates such an accelerated trend cycle, it can feel impossible to keep up with what's "cool," and, more importantly, what's actually worth investing in. And although there are plenty of passing trends on social media (are we over all-white bookshelves yet?), these platforms are also opportunities to popularize designs that do stand the test of time.

Plenty of iconic vintage and antique designs have gained newfound popularity thanks to Instagram: There's the ultrafragola mirror, Mario Bellini sofas, and Marcel Breuer's Cesca chair, to name a few "Instagram-famous" trends that have long been mainstays in collectors' homes—and will remain long after we're onto the next hot app. My most recent favorite is the iconic Mads Caprani-manufactured lamp. Every time I see this Danish piece in the wild or in my feed, it stops my stroll or my scroll, respectively.

With that signature gooseneck curve in bent teakwood, the organic form feels distinctly 1970s in all its groovy glory. It's also undeniably elegant, thanks to the pleated rice paper shade (with an easy on/off switch right by the bulb instead of awkwardly on the cord). Then there's the surprisingly sturdy cast iron horse hoof base. It's the perfect accent: It works just as easily in modern, monochromatic spaces as in colorful and eclectic ones—and even classic and traditional homes that need a playful edge. The clean lines of the fluted shade against the smooth curves of the stem make it both an understated chameleon and a statement that can hold its own, a very fine line indeed.

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You'd think such a popular item would have a notable backstory. And it probably does, but as I was researching for this piece, I was surprised to find such little information about the lamp's origin story. Dozens of tabs, Google pages, and search terms later, I kept coming up short. Basically, all anyone seems to know about the piece is that it was manufactured in Denmark sometime in the 1960s or, more likely, the mid-1970s and that it was designed by Mads Caprani (a name whose entire legacy seems to be around this particular design) for Caprani Light AS. Even collectors and dealers aren't so sure beyond the inscriptions carved into the lamp's base. As issues surrounding the trademark of some Scandinavian designs from the same era suggest, lax trademark laws at the time might have played a part in this. Suffice it to say, the history behind this coveted lamp is mysteriously murky. Perhaps these unknowns contribute to its allure.

Anyway, back to the lamp itself: As someone who leans very heavily sweet and romantic when it comes to interiors (give me all the ribbons, ruffles, pastels, and basically anything reminiscent of Botticelli), I always remind myself (and thank myself later!) that contrast is crucial to a balanced, dynamic space. This is all to say that this piece is basically the design equivalent to those magic jeans in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In other words, whatever final touch of je ne sais quoi you need, this lamp will probably deliver it.

Though I'm partial to the original cream pleated shade, you can also swap it out with a perforated metal option or something colorful to spice up the wood stem. Basically, it's a beautiful piece worth investing in that'll grow with you as your style evolves and flatter a variety of backdrops if you move and find your architectural bones changing.

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And there are also the many iterations that have been inspired by the clean lines and smooth curves of the lamp, which seem to blend in with both quirky over-the-top and minimalist, understated interior schemes. There are tons of vintage and contemporary spin-offs inspired by it that make statements in their own rights. And, if anything, I'm always game for a good pleated shade moment, Caprani or not.

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If you're a collector and want to scoop up the real deal, keep your eyes on the Instagram accounts of antique dealers like @homeunion and @southlooploft that have stocked them in the past. Or, shop for a similar iteration that radiates that easy elegance and subtle quick at a more comfortable price point or a more contemporary take.

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