Hebi (“Snake”) Table Lamp by Isao Hosoe for Valenti Luce, 1970
A true design classic and an adjustable lamp like no other, the Hebi lamp made by Valenti of Italy is a coiled tube which literally provides flexibility: the entire structure being twistable and turnable throughout its length courtesy of an articulated metal inner and plastic outer “tube”. An aerospace engineer, Isao Hosoe moved to Italy in his early twenties to establish his own design office in Milan. The Hebi lamp (Italian for “snake”) of 1970 propelled him into international recognition and earned the lamp a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
As well as its snake-like body, the lamp also has a rotatable metal shade in brushed metal which provides additional positioning possibilities. Ours is in good clean working condition, with minor wear and tear to the shade, some slight discoloration to the metal parts in places, and a couple of very minor indents to the shade which are barely noticeable without close inspection. We have decided to leave these imperfections “as is” rather than attempt to make the lamp look “new” again with significant polishing etc. It’s an almost 50 year old lamp despite its modern looks and so, aside from cleaning it, we have respected that and done no more. The buyer might wish to fully polish the shade and metal parts but that would not be our choice.
The “body” of the lamp measures approximately 128cm (51 in.) with an additional 1.5m (59 in.) of flex. An inline switch provides an on/off button and the rubber sleeve which marks the meeting of the flex and the body is embossed with “VALENTI MADE IN ITALY”. The shade is approximately 9cm (3½ in.) in diameter.