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Cloud Pendant Lamp

This is a pendant lamp. It was designed by Frank O. Gehry and manufactured by Vitra AG. It is dated 2010 and we acquired it in 2010. Its medium is polyester, enameled bent steel wire. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Frank Gehry, one of the most innovative architect-designers working today, is distinguished not only for his innovative forms and methods, but also for his use of unusual materials. Although he has previously designed one-off examples of lighting, the Cloud lamp for Vitra is his first serially-produced lamp. Gehry felt the name Cloud “evokes the poetic nature” of the lamp, suggestive of a light, fleecy, changing form; he intended it to convey a "feeling of freedom and eccentricity."[1] He also saw it as an homage to Isamu Noguchi's paper Akiri lamps. Gehry has consistently explored paper and paper products as a design material, mostly recognizably in his cardboard furniture projects.
Gehry's first prototype for the Cloud lamp was made from flattened paper cups that he stapled together. The paper cup material, however, was not suitable for use near a hot light source, so a flame-resistant refined polyester was developed for use in the lamp instead. The form consists of circular polyester panels that resemble flattened paper cups snapped together at the edges. The soft, irregular, malleable shape is defined by ridges, creases, and dents. The basic spherical shape can be changed simply by pulling, pushing, or poking the form. Panels can be removed or added as desired to further customize the lamp’s size and shape. Cloud speaks to end-user customization, a growing trend in contemporary design.

This object was donated by Vitra AG. It is credited Gift of Vitra.

  • Armchairs (USA)
  • mahogany, laminated ash, oak and other woods.
  • Gift of Mrs. Ivan Chermayeff.
  • 1971-8-1-a,b

Our curators have highlighted 8 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Vase Vase
  • porcelain, vitreous enamel.
  • Gift of Arthur Altschul.
  • 1994-117-6
  • Necklace (England)
  • steel coil and bent steel wire.
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund.
  • 1993-114-13
  • Curl Chair
  • iron, rubber.
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund.
  • 1992-76-1

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in.)

Cite this object as

Cloud Pendant Lamp; Designed by Frank O. Gehry (American, b. Canada, 1929); Manufactured by Vitra AG (Switzerland); Switzerland; polyester, enameled bent steel wire; H x diam.: 61 x 61 cm (24 x 24 in.); Gift of Vitra; 2010-41-3

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18794723/ |title=Cloud Pendant Lamp |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>