What Is a Steampunk Lamp?
Steampunk lamps are novelty appliances influenced by the steampunk subgenre of science fiction, which marries futuristic technology with the curious visual character of a bygone era.
What Is Steampunk and What Does It Mean?
Outside of the context of sci-fi, the term “steampunk” is used to describe clothing, accessories, decor, and other items that put a funky futuristic spin on Victorian classicism.
Steampunk as a cultural craze hit peak popularity around the late 1980s and early 1990s, but it’s seen a sustained resurgence since the mid-2000s.
Industrial vs Steampunk Differences
Steampunk has many qualities in common with the industrial school of design, but the two labels are far from interchangeable.
Whereas industrial trends steadily evolve, steampunk aims at capturing a distinctly old-timey aesthetic that evokes the rudimentary steam-powered machines of the 18th and 19th centuries.
In keeping with this concept, steampunk lamps are often outfitted with vintage Edison bulbs (or LED bulbs convincingly disguised as antique incandescent lights), as well as decorative touches like wire cages, valves, cogs, pulleys, mock pressure gauges, and other non-functional features.
Steampunk is often described as a “retrofuturistic” movement. Industrial, by contrast, is a thoroughly modern conceit and relies on the materials and technologies of its age. Raw brick, metal, concrete, salvaged wood, and exposed pipes and ducts are all staples of industrial design.
Where Did Steampunk Lamps Come From?
Steampunk lamps take many cues from the colorful contrivances of movies, video games, novels, and other forms of popular entertainment. However, they also owe a debt of gratitude to yesteryear’s real-life materials, methods, and innovations.
Steampunk desk lamps and similar decor items essentially serve as stylized callbacks to that historical turning point when the steam engine and the electric light changed the world forever.
Why Do Steampunk Lamps Even Exist?
Because thinking outside the box is fun!
Steampunk-style lamps offer a cool and quirky alternative to homeowners looking for something other than the same old, same old. They can be a unique way of expressing oneself and one’s interests, and they make great conversation starters to boot.
How Much are Steampunk Lamps?
Due to their diverse origins and design peculiarities, there’s no such thing as an “average” cost where steampunk lamps are concerned.
In some cases, you may be able to find mass-produced table lamps or floor lamps imbued with steampunk sensibilities retailing for prices similar to that of ordinary lighting solutions. Other times, you may have to resort to buying handmade lamps, for which you can expect to pay quite a bit more.
What Colors are Used in Steampunk Style?
By and large, steampunk relies on earth tones and understated neutral hues.
Rust-colored copper pipes and dingy yellow brass fixtures and fittings are steampunk signatures, as are dull silvery iron and steel components. Other common palette choices include brown, tan, slate gray, charcoal, cream, black, white, and warm or washed-out shades like burnt orange, goldenrod, puce, gunmetal, cobalt blue, and olive or hunter green.
It’s rare to see bright colors in steampunk-inspired designs since the style is centered around mechanistic, industrialized depictions of civilization.