Monica Khemsurov is a Brooklyn-based journalist and the cofounder of Sight Unseen , an online magazine devoted to discovering new ideas and talents in design and the visual arts.
You can trace the cachet of the swing-arm sconce — really any wall-mounted light that swivels from side to side on a pole or jib — all the way back to the ’50s. That's when design icons Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé created the seven-foot-long Potence lamp to save floor space inside Prouvé’s La Maison Tropicale. Its debut was followed closely by Serge Mouille and his famed One Curved Arm sconce. And, a trend was born.
Nearly 65 years later, not only can Mouille’s lamp still be found flanking many a tastemaker’s bedside, but the swing-arm sconce in general is enjoying a major renaissance among contemporary designers, who are capitalizing on both its space-saving abilities and its streamlined mid-century appeal by producing dozens of variations on its cantilevered form — many of them far more affordable than their French forebears.
From industrial-chic homages to minimalist reinterpretations, here are six of our favorites.