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Design Inspiration: Pierre Chareau

Alabaster lighting designed by Pierre Chareau has inspired our own lighting designs from our very beginnings.

Pierre Chareau (1883-1950) was a French architect and designer who was known for his innovative and avant-garde designs in the early 20th century. Chareau was born in Bordeaux, France, and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Chareau was a versatile designer who worked on a wide range of projects, including: furniture, interiors, and architecture. His work was characterized by his love of combining traditional materials and modernist forms. Along with his use of time-honored materials like alabaster and stone, he was also known for including innovative materials such as steel and aluminum into his works. This combination of respect for venerated traditions, like the use of alabaster in creating diffuse and warm light, along with designing and crafting brand new forms from modern metals, has been a continuous source of inspiration for our own designs. One of Chareau’s most famous works is the Maison de Verre (House of Glass), which he designed in collaboration with Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet and metalworker Louis Dalbet. Completed in 1932, the Maison de Verre is a masterpiece of modernist architecture, with a transparent façade made of glass bricks and steel framing.

Chareau’s furniture designs were also highly innovative and often incorporated new materials and techniques. His pieces are known for their sleek lines and geometric shapes. Here, too, he incorporated a broad range of materials ranging from metals to exotic woods. Today, Chareau is recognized as one of the most important and influential designers of the early 20th century, and his work continues to inspire architects and designers around the world.

Pierre Chareau incorporated alabaster lighting into several of his designs. His iconic light fixture designs include the “La Religieuse” lamp, designed in 1923, wall sconces that incorporated alabaster throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and “Le Nun” floor lamp, all of which used alabaster to provide a warm enveloping glow.

We know you will see his influence as you explore our own collection of handcrafted Italian alabaster lighting designs here at Orphan Work.


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