Midgard celebrates a century of positionable lighting

The Goethe-Institut of New York exhibits lighting company Midgard’s adjustable lights that have been prominent since their invention 100 years ago.

Midgard, TYP 113, 1924. Photo Jenner Egberts

Until 31 May, the Goethe-Institut of New York hosts “One Hundred Years of Positionable Light”, an exhibition by German lighting company Midgard, in partnership with its US distributors Ameico. Midgard has been at the forefront of lighting design since 1919, when Curt Fischer invented the first positionable electric lamp. The company continues to produce various early inventions based on this historical context, including re-editions of Fischer’s design classics.  

This centennial celebrates Midgard’s roots in the Bauhaus movement, during which time its lights were used by design visionaries such as Marcel Breuer, Marianne Brandt and Walter Gropius. Amid the 16 lamps on display, from brands such as Midgard, Kandem, Siemens, AEG and others, the installation shows never-before-seen material from the Midgard archives such as letters, drawings, images and an original TYP 113 prototype, the brand’s most popular model, known as the “whip lamp” for its curved rod.

“One Hundred Years of Positionable Light” shows the progression of the development of lamps that can be adjusted, twisted and turned to make the light source and angle more desirable to the user, something that, in the early 1900s, was unheard of. It wasn’t until Fischer’s famous scissor-arm lamp (or “light arc”) was created and patented under the new Midgard brand – exactly one-hundred years ago – that this freely adjustable way of lighting came to be. Such lamps became a staple feature in the modern homes and studios of architects, photographers, typographers and painters, who valued the later addition of glare-free reflectors.

One Hundred Years of Positionable Light
Goethe-Institute New York
Opening dates:
5–31 May 2019
30 Irving Place, New York

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