Ingo Maurer

Johnny B Butterfly by Ingo Maurer. Two butterflies and a dragonfly circling around a light bulb!

Ingo Maurer was born in 1932 on the Island of Reichenau, Lake Constance, Germany. Following an apprenticeship as a typographer, he studied graphic design in Munich, Germany from 1954-58. In 1960, Maurer left Germany and moved to the USA, where he worked in New York and San Francisco as a freelance graphic designer. In 1963, he moved back to Germany, and founded Design M, a company developing and manufacturing lamps after his own designs. The company was later renamed Ingo Maurer GmbH. One of his first designs, Bulb, 1966 is now featured in the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

In 1984 Maurer presented YaYaHo, a low-voltage wire system comprising two horizontally fixed metal ropes and a series of adjustable lighting elements with halogen bulbs, which became an instant success. In response to this success, Maurer was invited to create a series of site-specific YaYaHo installations for the exhibition “Lumieres je pense a vous” at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Villa Medici in Rome, and the Institut Francais d’Architecture in Paris.

In 1989 Maurer created a solo exhibition of lighting objects that were regarded bespoke design pieces, not meant for mass production. The exhibition Ingo Maurer: Lumière Hasard Réflexion, (Ingo Maurer: Light Chance Reflection) at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, in Jouy-en-Josas near Paris.

Since then his design and objects have been presented in a series of exhibitions, including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, 1993. In 2002 the Vitra Design Museum organised Ingo Maurer – Light – Reaching for the Moon, a touring exhibition that spanned Europe and Japan. In 2007 the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York presented the exhibition Provoking Magic: Lighting of Ingo Maurer.

Ingo Maurer is a highly innovative designer and was among the first designers to create objects using LEDs, the first being the lighting object Bellissima Brutta in 1996. In 2001 he presented EL.E.Dee, a table lamp using LED’s. Since 2006, Maurer has also been experimenting with organic light-emitting diodes, designing two objects and a limited edition table lamp.

In addition to his manufactured lighting designs, Ingo Maurer creates both public and private lighting installations such as his light installation at Westfriedhof subway station, Munich in 1998 and a renovation and lighting concept for Muenchner Freiheit subway station, 2009. In 1999, he designed and created an installation for renowned fashion designer, Issey Miyake for a fashion show in Paris. In 2006 he created lighting objects and installations for the interior of the Atomium the Brussels. In 2011, Ingo Maurer and Allmann Sattler Wappner were selected for their lighting design inspired by the Chinese I Ching for the re-design for the underground area of the U-Bahn public transport station Marienplatz in Munich.

Among his best-known designs are the winged bulb Lucellino, 1992, Porca Miseria!, 1994, a suspension lamp made with porcelain shards.

Bellissima Brutta, LED table lamp, designed by Ingo Maurer . Image sourced from

YaYaHo, 1984, designed by Ingo Maurer. Image sourced from

The LED table by Ingo Maurer, 2003. This stunning table lights up with 278 white LEDs per leaf and is available in 2-leaf and 3-leaf. Image sourced from

Ingo Maurer's egg installation at Milan Design Week, 2009. Maurer explains his work; 'the egg shape, perfect and beautiful, is a recurring element in my work. in fact, there’s a direct connection to milan: the egg in piero della francesca’s montefeltro altarpiece, belonging to the pinacoteca di brera, holds a particular fascination for me. However, for me the egg had to be flawed: it is broken, and light emerges from the cracks.'
Image sourced from

Ingo Maurer presented the installation "ablaze - sentimento (s)travolgente" as part of "Architettura Mutante" at Universita degli Studi di Milano, Milan. The installations were on view from April 13-25, 2011. Image sourced from

Silly-Kon, 2011. A pendant light complete with halogen bulb, providing perfect colour rendering and a warm light and with a transparent cable.
Image: Tom Vack, Munich. Copyright Ingo Maurer GmbH. Image sourced from

ManOMan, 2011, a new suspension lamp that was first shown at Euroluce. Designed for use over large tables or spaces, this fixture is suspended from a single mounting point, and emits outstanding indirect lighting. Image sourced from

Ingo Maurer's LED Wallpaper was selected as "Best of Best" among the winners of the Interior Innovation Award in 2012. Image sourced from

Please follow this link www.designboom to read an interview with Ingo Maurer.

Please follow this link to read an article about Ingo Maurer at At Salone Internazional del Mobile’s Euroluce in Milan, 2007.


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