Designers Sabine Marcelis, Job Smeets and Camille Walala, along with pop band Duran Duran and British photographer Rankin, have created a range of limited-edition lava lamps.
Launched to mark the 60th anniversary of the lava lamp, which is officially called the Astro lamp, the lights were reimagined by the creatives for lighting brand Mathmos.
The lava lamp, which was originally designed by British inventor Edward Craven Walker, was first released in 1963 and has since become an iconic piece of pop culture.
French designer Walala, who is known for her colourful geometric creations divided by bold black lines, designed a lamp that played on these patterns.
The lamp has a black top and bottom etched with white lines, while the red-toned “lava” is suspended within a violet liquid.
“I love the colours of our final Astro lamp and the way they interact with the framed black base and cap – a joyful take on an iconic piece of design history,” said Walala.
In contrast to Walala’s bold colours, Dutch designer Marcelis created a more restrained design with a matt-white base and top.
“I’ve always been fascinated by lava lamps and their magical dance,” said Marcelis. “With this version, 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.”
The glass was etched to soften and blur the “lava” inside, which was coloured yellow. The lamp was designed to appear entirely white when turned off, only revealing the lava when illuminated.
“What has always captivated me about lava lamps is the materiality of the liquid – it’s a secret formula and everyone is always trying to understand what is going on in there,” she explained.
“I wanted to enhance that idea of mystery by etching the bottle so that the lava liquid becomes veiled behind a haze.”
Job Smeets’ Studio Job designed a lamp that was informed by actual lava, geological formations and the fossils that can be found inside.
The lamp has a gold base and top finished with etchings of animal skeletons. The glass, too, turns entirely gold when the lamp is switched off.
“The Lava lamp is connected to my youth in the 70s,” Smeets said. “For me, it’s such an iconic design.”
“The lamp is like a little theatre in itself, so I tried to make it as dramatic as possible within the constraints of this shape, like a dance macabre,” he continued. “Normally, you see a retro vintage feel. Now, with the skeletons and red lava, it becomes gothic and classical.”
Alongside the three designers, Mathmos commissioned pop band Duran Duran and British photographer John Rankin Waddell, also known as Rankin, to design a lamp.
Duran Duran, who released a track called Lava Lamp on their 2000 album Pop Trash, created a lamp that appears entirely silver when switched off. When turned on, pink lava forms are visible throughout the metalised glass.
The four band members’ signatures were etched into the lamp’s cap.
“There is something magical about the lava lamp, hence it has endured through many generations of modern design to become widely acknowledged as a genuine classic,” said Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes.
For his lamp, Rankin chose his “favourite colours of blue with an aquamarine lava combination”. His lamp has rounded lines etched into the base and cap designed to resemble a vinyl record.
Rankin photographed his lamp for its box.
Previously, EWE Studio created a range of handcrafted lava-like lighting while Davidpompa’s Meta lamp was made from volcanic stone.
The photography is courtesy of Mathmos.