Imperial Decorative Product Range

Imperial Decorative Lighting Range

designed and manufactured by Bluelab Design.

Bluelab Design has delved back in time to find the romance in lighting.  To a time of brave, bold design, vibrant manufacturing and industry, to the birth of modernization that became an unstoppable force with all the glitz and appeal to create a frenzy of statements to modernism.

Like our Truss Range, the Imperial Decorative lighting Range is an Architectural range designed entirely by Bluelab Designers.  The Imperial Range is inspired from the Machine Age.  While much of Europe was in disarray at the end of the Great War in 1918, the United States was entering a period of extravagant development of the man-made environment:  Majestic skyscrapers surpassing previous heights, long suspension bridges creating city backdrops and new location landmarks.  Streamlined locomotives appeared, as well as airplanes and automobiles, concrete highways, airports and service stations.  Lets not forget lighting, the progression in lighting technology from Gas lamps to incandescent, HID and the average home including electricity that allowed lighting.  Lighting in homes and public buildings were a opulent display of technology creating bright spaces and the birth of Lighting design as we know it.  Never before had designers had the choice of lamps or lighting medium to create a lighting feature or drama through lighting within a room.  This Machine was not exclusive to the United States.  As Australia welcomed our return soldiers, the soldiers were put to work to build modern infrastructure we still enjoy today being, the Great Ocean Road, Sydney Harbor Bridge to name two.  Returned soldiers received land to build modern homes on.

‘This age did not grow out of manifestos but from the work itself, and it was based on what were deemed machine virtues- honesty of statement, logical solution of problems, uncluttered directness of design and composition.  But we would be missing the center of gravity of the work of what might be called the period’s technical modernists if we neglected the utopian dimension of their work.’BY Alan Trachtenberg The Art and Design of the Machine age.

Lighting ideas
Brain storming concepts for range

So why is the machine age so important in design?

‘The Machine Age represents a distinctive period in art and design, forcing us to reconsider the shallow distinction we normally make between the exuberant 1920’s – Jazz Age – and the grim 1930’s, the era of the Great Depression.  Artists and engineers, poets and advertising men, clergymen and secular intellectuals shared a reverence for the machine.  A cheerful confidence, typified by the style known as streamlining – fluid lines, rounded contours, the image of speed and efficiency derived from the look of locomotives, airplanes and ocean liners – unifies the period despite economic ups and downs.’

‘Artists and designers found symbols and forms for this utopian wish – none more dazzling and seductive than Norman Bel Gedde’s Futurama, centrepiece of the 1939 World’s Fair.  But utopianism made for an ambiguous legacy – especially in view of the mechanized horrors of totalitarianism, war and Holocaust, already growing visible by the end of the 1930’s.  Launched at the end of one cataclysm, the era lost its innocence at the onset of another.

MACHINES TEND now to call up images of junk, debris, factories turning to rust.  Commercialism has tarnished the glamour once attached to the industrial design, photography, and cinema.  Our age looks more cynically at the claims of technological utopia.  The 1930’s Depression and subsequent chronic fluctuations in the economy have tempered our confidence in the benign powers of the Machine Age:  the machine is not an abstraction but a social force, embedded in and inseparable from social processes.  By itself, it can hardly sustain a credible utopia, particularly an esthetic utopia promising regeneration through design and creativity alone.

Still we can find much in our “century of progress” to respect and something to learn from the Machine Age: the conviction that quality is not inconsistent with industrial products, that artists are also inventors and, by sharing their discoveries in new modes and conceptions of experience, public servants.  At the heart of the emergent and aborted Machine Age culture lay a belief in the redemptive power of esthetic form.  For just beneath the surface optimism of that time, we can detect doubts and worries familiar to our own times.’ Alan Trachtenberg The Art and Design of Machine Age. Sept 1986.

The above article was printed in 1986 but still very relevant for today.  In 2022 post Covid lock downs and the push for environmentally products and practices, design has come in to play similarly to the Machine Age, we seek the creative and inventive minds to solve the problems we find within our current climate.  The tarnish of manufacturing in Australia has gone and romance of local production has emerged as necessity, with freight prices and emissions from transport fuel souring.  Production methods have improved and the days of casting metal moulds, acid baths and the grime of industry has shifted.  Technology has made way for cleaner processes.  So the nostalgia for the Machine Age has become prevalent.

Imperial Range designs

The Imperial Range has been a slow process as Bluelab Design has waded through many custom and commercial projects over the last 2 years.   The key designers within this range Marcus Athanatos, Penny Altman, Marta Inchaurrondo and Esteban Anaya Remeres drew inspiration from products from Art Deco, Art Nouveau and beyond.  Simplifying design and cultivating products to incorporate modern technologies.  Modern design in lighting can allow design with slimmer, more simplified design which is juxtaposition of the Machine Age where the technologies of that era enables simpler design.

Bluelab Design has created an architectural range, maintaining lighting performance at the forefront of each piece.  The Range includes families of lighting pieces to allow symmetry in interior design.  We have designed over 20 pieces with Glass, metals and timber materials.


See the full range in Imperial Range

For more information please contact Bluelab Design