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1980s Black and White “Minilight” Desk Lamp designed by Kyoji Tanaka, Japan


A small and lightweight desk lamp, the “MINILIGHT” designed by Kyoji Tanaka dates from the 1980s and is certainly reflective of the time. Some models were colourful and hinted at Memphis Style leanings, whilst this one in black and white colour scheme provides a slightly different aesthetic whilst still firmly of its time.

The lamp comprises a conical base with the top of the cone truncated. The base houses the switch, a battery compartment and an AC adaptor socket, whilst it is also slightly hollowed to allow the shade to sit in it when the folding arm is positioned appropriately. This transforms the whole lamp into a torch-like object, with the arm now appearing more like a handle, whilst the light itself can be used almost as a lantern when in this configuration. Otherwise, the three joints – one at the base, one at an “elbow” about halfway up the arm, and another just before the shade – allow the shade to be positioned as per a normal lamp.

Inside the shade is a small fluorescent tube which gives off a pleasing light and the cylindrical shade itself can be rotated to direct light where required. The images show a variety of the positions into which the lamp and shade can be placed.

In its most compact form, the lamp measures approximately 25 cm in height (10 in.). The base has a diamater of 11 cm (4½ in.) and a height of 6cm (2¼ in.), whilst the shade is 19cm (7½ in.) long.

In good working condition, though it has not been tested with an AC adaptor. The plastics have some minor signs of use (superficial scratches, etc.) but no chips or cracks.  If one was to be very picky, one would say the white plastics have yellowed slightly from their original bright white. The battery compartment (4 “AA” size batteries are used for operation) is clean.


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