Venetian glass is thought to have been made for thousands of years, with the production concentrated in Murano from the 13th century. While the art of hand (or mouth) blowing had been invented and perfected over decades, it wasn't until the 1970s that the mushroom-shaped lamp with its delicately twisting shades of pastel became popular.
The initial trend died down but it's surged in popularity in 2020 and into 2021, especially on Instagram. It's glowing warmly in the background of WFH mirror selfies, lighting the pastel rooms of interior influencers and being cradled by some of the platform's biggest fashion voices.
In many ways, it's hardly surprising. It's an explicitly vintage take on what came to be defined as the millennial aesthetic: soft pastel pinks and greens, smooth surfaces, rounded edges. It's kitsch and unique enough to make a statement but blends in well enough not to stand out, and it encapsulates exactly the right amount of '70s nostalgia. As with much of the millennial aesthetic, it is deliberately soothing – figuratively and, in some cases, literally a grown-up nightlight.
It also slots perfectly into the cottagecore boom we saw this year: a longing for the isolated woodland aesthetic without the mud or lack of phone signal.
Perhaps the most defining factor though is the price. A real vintage Murano lamp is nat cheap – it's exceptionally rare to find one under three digits and they can spark intense bidding wars. The fact they're so inaccessible only adds to the appeal – it is the homeware equivalent of a tiny Jacquemus bag.
You don't have to drop hundreds of pounds if you don't want to (though of course, feel free). There are plenty of great alternatives and fungi-themed lamps that evoke a lot of the same aesthetic and senses but at a range of price points. If you're looking to bring a warm spot of light to the darkness of 2020, there are plenty of options to be found. Take your pick.
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