Maurer, a typographer and graphic designer trained in Switzerland and Germany, is fascinated by the common lightbulb. "It is the perfect meeting of industry and poetry. The bulb is my inspiration," he has said. In 1966 Maurer designed a lighting fixture for an installation in Munich. Simply called Bulb, it was a lightbulb within a lightbulb. It was so successful that Maurer went into production to meet the demand, and his company, Design M (now Ingo Maurer GmbH) was established.
No matter how conceptual, Maurer’s lamps are witty and delicate. In Lucellino, a fusion of two Italian words, luce (light) and uccellino (little bird), the bulb has grown wings and become a glowing cherub—"because light comes with no noise," Maurer has said. Another of his lamps, also in MoMA's collection, is a homage to Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb. The hanging lamp Wo bist Du, Edison . . . ? (Where Are You, Edison?) features a hologram of a lightbulb; the material socket for the immaterial bulb is shaped like a continuous profile of Edison himself. "I am going on and on," says Maurer. "I never stop making lights, but it's never redundant repetition."
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 131.