Kartell’s Bourgie table lamp has earned its status as an icon of modern design. With its elegant baroque-style base juxtaposed against a minimalist cylindrical shade, this lamp makes a statement in any space. Since its introduction in 2004, the Bourgie has become one of Kartell’s most recognizable and best-selling designs. Let’s explore the history, design, and enduring appeal of this contemporary classic.

A Brief History of the Bourgie Lamp

The Bourgie lamp was designed by Italian architect Ferruccio Laviani as part of his collaboration with Kartell, the renowned Italian design company known for its innovative use of plastics. According to Kartell, Laviani drew inspiration from the opulent table lamps found in 18th century French and Italian palazzos when conceiving the Bourgie.

By combining a baroque-style base made of transparent or colored polycarbonate with a simple drum shade, Laviani succeeded in creating a lamp that straddled the line between classic and contemporary. Since its launch in 2004, the Bourgie has become one of Kartell’s biggest commercial successes.

The Design Details That Make It An Icon

Elegant Form Meets Modern Materials

The juxtaposition between the Bourgie’s curvaceous base and straight-lined shade creates a striking visual tension. The baroque detailing of the base, with its fluted columns and ornate decorative motifs, provides elegant embellishment without feeling stuffy or old-fashioned. The clean acrylic or polycarbonate shade offers beautiful illumination. This smart contrast between opulence and simplicity has made the Bourgie feel perpetually modern.

Highly Customizable

Bourgie lamps can be customized in terms of material, color, and size, adding to their versatility. The base comes in a range of transparent, opaque, and metallic polycarbonate colorways, while the shade is available in multiple dimensions. This freedom of choice allows consumers to select a Bourgie that aligns with their personal style.

Touch Dimmer and Pleated Shade

Some updated Bourgie incarnations include a smooth dimmer knob built discreetly into the stem. This enables users to adjust the brightness with a simple touch. Many Bourgie shades are pleated, which serves both an aesthetic purpose by adding subtle detailing, and a functional one by directing the light.

Three-Light Option

For even grander spaces like dining rooms, Kartell offers a triple-light version of the Bourgie. With three lamp shades emerging from the singular base, the three-light Bourgie makes a dramatic illumination statement.

Why The Bourgie Lamp Endures

It Epitomizes Timeless Italian Design

The Bourgie encapsulates the Italian design ethos: creative, stylistically inventive forms executed using quality materials. Made in Italy, this lamp exemplifies impeccable Italian craftsmanship.

It Works in Diverse Settings

From transitional to ultra-modern spaces, the Bourgie’s adaptable elegance suits many aesthetics. It makes a graceful statement in living and dining rooms, offices, bedrooms, and sophisticated settings.

It Offers Customization

With its array of colors and sizes, including mini tabletop versions, consumers can find a Bourgie that best fits their decor. This versatility also enables designers to easily incorporate Bourgies into their projects.

It Combines Styles Gracefully

The Bourgie’s clever fusion of opulent, ornate classicism and minimalist modernity has proven widely appealing. It brings a baroque sensibility to contemporary contexts with elegance.

Setting Up Your Bourgie

Once you’ve selected the perfect Bourgie for your needs, setting it up is simple. Here are a few tips:

  • Place your Bourgie on a stable, level surface. The heavy weighted base helps prevent tipping.
  • Arrange any cord neatly behind the base. You can also thread the cord through the interior of the base for a hidden look.
  • Use a soft cloth to clean your lamp. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Don’t place your Bourgie near any heat sources, as excessive heat can damage plastic.
  • To change the bulb, carefully detach the lampshade. Bourgies take a 40W max E12 candelabra bulb.

Designing With the Bourgie

The Bourgie’s adaptable elegance makes it a favorite for designers. Here are some ways to incorporate Bourgies into home or commercial spaces:

  • Living Rooms – Position a Bourgie or pair on an end table or console table to flank a sofa. The baroque base and ample light lend living rooms a touch of grace.
  • Dining Rooms – The three-light Bourgie makes a striking centerpiece overhead on a dining table. For intimate settings, mini Bourgies are ideal.
  • Bedrooms – A single Bourgie functioning as a nightstand lamp radiates both illumination and style.
  • Offices – Bourgies bring distinct sophistication to desks and bookshelves.
  • Hospitality – Bourgies work beautifully in hotel lobbies and restaurant seating areas to imbue refined ambiance.

Variations on a Classic Theme

While remaining true to Laviani’s original vision, Kartell has introduced some fresh variations on the Bourgie over the years:

  • Bourgie with Gold Finish – Launched in 2007, the metallic gold finish offers a more glamorous take on the lamp.
  • Bourgie with Crystal Pleats – This special edition from 2015 replaces the typical pleated lampshade with a shade adorned in Swarovski crystals for dramatic sparkle.
  • Bourgie Outdoor – An outdoor-safe polycarbonate version arrived in 2016, enabling use in gardens, patios and pools while retaining the elegance of the original.
  • Bourgie Edition – Designed in collaboration with fashion house Moschino, this 2015 version saw the base embellished with the brand’s logo.

The Bourgie’s Lasting Allure

With its ingenious fusion of divergent aesthetics, clever customization options, and enduringly sophisticated aura, the Bourgie has rightfully claimed its place as an icon of contemporary design. For homes and commercial spaces seeking to strike that perfect balance between timeless and modern, there are few lamps more iconic than the Bourgie. This Kartell classic is sure to continue illuminating the world with Italian panache for years to come.

FAQs About the Bourgie Lamp

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Kartell’s iconic Bourgie lamp:

What materials is the Bourgie lamp made of?

The Bourgie’s base is constructed from PMMA, a durable transparent polycarbonate plastic. The shades are made from smooth acrylic plastic. These quality plastics allow the lamps to be durable yet lightweight.

Does the Bourgie lamp give off a good amount of light?

Yes, the lampshade design and single bulb direct the light efficiently downward. The pleated shades also prevent glare. However, the lamp only takes 40W bulbs, so the illumination is more ambient than task-oriented.

How stable is the Bourgie lamp?

The weighted base provides excellent stability, making tipping unlikely. The lamp weighs approximately 18 pounds in total.

Does the Bourgie work with smart lighting systems?

While Bourgie lamps don’t directly connect to smart home systems, you can use smart light bulbs like Philips Hue to enable remote lighting control. The lamps work with standard screw-in bulbs.

Where are Bourgie lamps manufactured?

Authentic Bourgie lamps are designed by Ferruccio Laviani and made exclusively in Kartell’s Italian factories. Beware cheap knock-offs made elsewhere.

How do you clean a Bourgie lamp?

Use a soft dry or slightly damp cloth to wipe Bourgie bases if needed. Clean lampshades gently with a specialized acrylic plastic cleaner to avoid scratching. Never use abrasive cleaners.

Can you still buy the original Bourgie lamp?

Yes, Kartell still manufactures the iconic original Bourgie design in a variety of colors, sizes, and lampshade styles. It remains one of their most popular creations.


Kartell’s Bourgie table lamp has earned its reputation as a contemporary design icon for good reason. With its ingenious combination of baroque opulence and modern minimalism, superb Italian craftsmanship, and seemingly endless customization possibility, the Bourgie transcends fleeting trends. For residential, hospitality, and commercial settings seeking that perfect marriage of classic and cutting-edge, this lamp delivers. The Bourgie’s enduring popularity is a testament to the creativity and skill of acclaimed Italian designer Ferruccio Laviani. For illuminating elegance, Bourgie continues to shine bright.