Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting February 27–May 16, 2021

Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting celebrates lighting devices—innovative, practical, delightful, and fun. Over the past 100 years, the field of lighting design has been a catalyst for technological and artistic expression.

The exhibition examines lighting as a transforming force in daily life and in major design movements. From the first electric light in the early 1800s to energy-efficient bulbs in the 21st century, lighting technology has fascinated engineers, scientists, architects, and designers worldwide.

Rare and limited-production examples by the world’s leading designers are presented in three sections, organized by theme rather than chronologically. “Typologies” focuses on different types of lighting, from desk lamps to chandeliers; “The Bulb” addresses the importance and design of the lightbulb, from basic to whimsical; and “Quality of Light” considers the manipulation of light effects, including reflection, diffusion, and light-filled sculpture.

Amplifying the works on view are three large-scale immersive experiences. Among the designers represented in Electrifying Design are Achille Castiglioni, Christian Dell, DRIFT, Greta Magnusson Grossman, Poul Henningsen, Ingo Maurer, Verner Panton, Gaetano Pesce, Gino Sarfatti, Ettore Sottsass, and Wilhelm Wagenfeld.

Shop the Show
Browse exhibition-related items at the MFA Shop online! The curated selection features lamps, books, sculptures, and more. SHOP NOW

Exhibition Catalogue
The illustrated exhibition catalogue is available through the MFA Shop (713.639.7360) and the Museum’s Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).

Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting | February 27–May 16, 2021

Included with general admission. Advance timed tickets recommended.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Major support is provided by:
Cecily E. Horton

Additional generous funding is provided by:
Sara and Bill Morgan, in honor of Cindi Strauss
Michael W. Dale Exhibitions Endowment for Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design

Kim and Al Eiber
Danish Arts Foundation

Anne Breux Interior Architecture
Carolyn Covault
Courtnay and Mark Elias
Joan Morgenstern
Dr. Sara Sant’Ambrogio


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