Desk Lamp, Walter Dorwin Teague, 1939
"As American designers adapted the luxurious motifs of Paris 1925 for a middle-class market, they retained Art Deco’s central emphasis on decorative effects. However, economic constraints forced them to do more with less, to stylize mercilessly, to suggest rather than to execute, and finally to rely on innovated surface effects achieved with such new materials as aluminum, stainless steel, chrome plating and synthetic plastics, all of which depended on new technologies. The inherent tension between material and form is illustrated by a desk lamp designed by Teague in 1939 for the Polaroid Corporation.
Composed of three simple parts, the lamp possessed a small rounded base of matte black Bakelite, out of which rises a widening conical pillar of brushed aluminum supporting a flared Bakelite hood. If it were not for the hood’s attenuated reference to the teardrop motif and the aluminum cone’s dramatic angle, the lamp’s simple forms would evoke the timeless purity that Le Corbusier sought in modern engineering…[but] anyone who seeks to explain the lamp’s considerable aesthetic presence must recognized the decorative impact of contrasting silver and black materials in a composition that ultimately refers back not to Le Corbusier but to the 1925 Exhibition.” - “New Materials and Technologies”, Art Deco 1910-1939, Jeffrey L. Meikle