Bernard-Albin Gras was one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century. An Architect, Engineer and Designer, he was famous for the creation of the eponymous Gras lamp.
In Paris, October 13th 1921, Gras obtained the patent which allowed him to create "an articulated lamp for industrial use". He designed a series of lamps for use in offices and industrial environments. Later, just after the war, his interest in the work related to its aesthetic and functionality grew and the Gras lamp encapsulated the Golden Age of design in France; defining the style of that period.
The Gras lamp, as it was subsequently called, was a remarkably simple and robust design, ergonomic in its function and had neither screws nor welded joints in the basic form. The functional aesthetic of his lamps and especially the design of details such as those of the arms, stems, brackets and bases were truly original and far ahead of his time.
Right from its launch, many people were attracted by the Gras lamp. Le Corbusier was one of those seduced by the modern design and user-friendliness of the lamps and became one of Bernard-Albin Gras’s most enthusiastic supporters using the lamps in his own offices as well as employing them in numerous architectural projects all over the world.
Others such as Robert Mallet-Stevens, Jacques Emile Ruhlmann and Eileen Gray followed this trend as well. Furthermore, well-know artists such as Sonia Delaunay and Georges Braque also used the Gras lamps in their studios.
The Ravel company purchased the Gras patent in 1927 and went into production of the lamps. Since then, the Gras lamp has been equally popular to professional as well as in residential applications. Today, the Gras lamp has become sought after a collector’s item all over the world, most notably in France, in the United States and in Japan.
Originally conceived for Industry and Office use, the Gras lamp has met with a runway success. It continues to be used in interiors today, without the slightest change or modification to its creation.
Bernard-Albin Gras’s talented and visionary design has proven to be timeless.