The 10 Best Architect Lamps

Updated July 02, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. You don't have to design buildings for a living to know that adequate lighting in your workspace will minimize eye strain and allow you to be more efficient and productive. These architect lamps are great options for graphic designers, artists, students and all office workers, and come in adjustable designs that will allow you to swing the light into the ideal position for your particular project. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best architect lamp on Amazon.

10. V-Light CFL

9. Daylight Combo

8. ToJane Desk Clamp

7. Anker Lumos

6. HHP Swing

5. Newhouse 5W LED

4. 3M Alvin

3. Tomons Wood

2. Phive Task

1. BYB Metal Swing

Not Just For Architects

The term architect lamp generally refers to any desk lighting with a durable metal body and an independently adjustable arm and head. This category of lighting goes by many names, including drafting lamps, task lights, and even swing lamps. While this particular style of lamp may have been originally designed for engineers and planners to read and draw highly detailed blueprints, an architect's lamp can be an indispensable tool for a variety of modern careers. Not matter what your profession, these task lamps offer ergonomic benefits because you can bring the illumination where you need it to be, rather than straining into an awkward position to get the best light.

Just about any type of artist can benefit from the convenient flexibility an architect lamp can offer. Jewelry makers can direct the stream of light to help them with the tiny, delicate adjustments they need to make in their work, while a graphic artist can use the auxiliary light to help prevent eye strain when they're spending long hours working in front of a screen. Those in professions that require hours of reading or editing will appreciate the ability to quickly and easily re-direct the light source as they change positions for comfort.

Although this type of task light was once considered an unattractive, but functional choice for a reading or desk lamp, the prevalence of the modern industrial style in home decorating has turned these lights into a common decorator's accessory. Even if you can't afford a trendy loft in an up-and-coming neighborhood in the the city, a well-chosen architect lamp can accent your home office or living room with an no-nonsense industrial vibe. Their prevalence as a decorating option has led to this type of lamp being available in a vast range of metals and painted colors to fit any aesthetic or budget.

Choosing The Right Light For Your Eyes

There are a multitude of reasons to invest in a high quality architect lamp. Given their usefulness for a variety of careers, you can find task lamps with many features to make work time even more productive. A lot of these features are aimed at reducing eye strain. A dimming function is a must for anyone prone to working overtime hours. In addition, look for a unit that emits a soft, diffused glow without flicker. If you purchase a cheaper lamp prone to flickering, you can end up with headaches, as well as eye fatigue.

Some of the newest models come with bulbs featuring a wide range of temperature settings so you can customize your lighting to match the task at hand, whether you're working or reading a novel before bedtime. While the brightest setting might be useful for those doing highly detailed work, some will find it too harsh, even when dimmed. The best options will have a full-spectrum of choices, from cool white and daylight to warm white reminiscent of the old incandescent bulbs we grew up with.

While the classic look of a task lamp has a rounded or cone-shaped head to house the bulb, the latest units will come with a more elongated head to hold the more advanced bulbs that offer you customized choices. If you're choosing a lamp as a decorating accent, then you may not concern yourself with the latest advances and go with the more vintage, rounded styling. You can find a wide array of high-end, industrial chic options that may not offer much in the way of functionality, but will look great in your space.

Finally, if you find yourself lacking in table or desk space, or prefer your light to come from overhead, many makers of architect lamps offer clip-on options. They often look just like the standing version, but come with strong clamps so you can attach them to the side of a table or even over your bed.

A Brief History Of The Architect Lamp

In the 1920s multiple inventors experimented with the concept of task lighting with an articulating arm using complicated counterweight structures, but none of them were practical enough to catch on. Then George Carwardine, a British car designer who specialized in vehicle suspensions, designed a desk lamp similar to the kind we use today.

His light incorporated a suspension mechanism that allowed the adjustable arm to provide much needed balance that made the product functional. While he patented the design, his original intent for the light source was simply to use it in his place of work. A spring supplier for the car factory saw potential in the design and obtained a license to begin producing and selling the Anglepoise lamp in 1933.

The sewing industry quickly embraced this versatile and convenient lighting option, catching the eye of Scandinavian textile machinery importer Jac Jacobsen. In 1938, he acquired the rights to sell the product in Norway, after making a few modifications to the design himself. It was called the Luxo L-1, and became a classic tool on the desks of professionals in many fields, from architects to graphic designers. These lamps have become such a fixture, they have even inspired the mascot for the computer animation company Pixar. Luxo Jr. stars in his own two minute short, and is part of the 13-second opening sequence that opens every Pixar film.


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Last updated on July 02, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.


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