Like many people I have a soft spot for the industrial lamps, which have been produced by Jieldé from Lyon in France since the 1950s – and have since become a design classic. Its designer, the French mechanic Jean-Louis Domecq, created the lamp in the late 1940s, out of frustration because he could not find a satisfactory industrial lamp for his workshop. So Domecq decided to design, produce and market one himself under the Ji-el-Dé brandname, which was made up of his initials.
Domecq wanted his ideal lamp to be simple, robust, and articulated to adapt to all work conditions. He designed a mechanism in which the base and light head were connected by a number of rods, which could articulate with rotational joints. The end of each rod was fitted with one half of the rotational joint, made from cast aluminium with a copper contact inside. When two rods were connected with a bolt, the joints could rotate and made electrical contact by the copper contacts that were pressed together.
The Jieldé lamps became a favourite in many workshops and factories, and have since found their way into the home as well. Jieldé now produces various versions, including floor lamps, wall-mounted fixtures and reading lights. The difference is the number of rods used. Today the Jieldé ‘Classic’ or Loft lamp is a famous icon of French industrial art. I bought my Jieldé, a classic ‘Standard’ version with two extensions, a few years ago at an
antiques dealer in Marseille in France. It is an older model with unpainted rods and joints, produced for industrial use – as the scratches bare witness too.