Fabulous Fungi: Trend Setting With Mushroom Lamps


We are living at the apex of Mushroom Mania. Dome shaped appliances now dominate the design world.

The #mushroomlamp hashtag has over 3.3-billion views. Not far behind are #mushroomart with 122-million views and #mushroompillow with 198,000 views. Unboxing videos, house tours, and DIY projects show that the videos may be diverse, but Mushroom Lamps are everywhere.

Mushroom Lamps look exactly like mushrooms, with some of them even taking on the natural, woodland texture of the polarizing fungi. These bright and groovy lamps caused a social media frenzy which led to a resurgence of a lamp that hasn’t been in fashion since the 1970s.

Demand is on the rise due primarily to growing exposure on TikTok and Instagram. They transcend the standard functional appeal of lamps to become at home art installations, and if the staying power of this trend tells us anything: Mushroom Lamps aren’t going anywhere for a long time.

It apparently started with a DIY TikTok post. In the now viral video, @tidytotes hand paints pieces of store bought glass. She paints the glass with swirling florals while the audience watches along entranced. The process of creating art becomes art itself. Once finished painting, she puts the glass pieces in the oven which she uses as a makeshift kiln. Afterward, she assembles her homemade lamp. @tidytotes is one of many young artists bringing the Mushroom Lamp back into the zeitgeist.

A Timeless Trend Rediscovered

Nostalgia or necessity? Psychedelic or aesthetics? The Mushroom Lamp is booming in popularity and it’s not slowing down. At the date of this writing, @tidytotes is approaching 1.7-million views just on her handful of artistic fungi lamp videos. @sus.annah offers a tour of a room in which her Mushroom Lamp is the clear focal point while @ellesbored unboxes her latest lamp – a Tokabo Mushroom Lamp, $12.99 – for all her viewers to see.

While no one designer has autonomy over this shape and form, the Mushroom Lamp dates all the way back to 10th Century Murano, Italy, which is hence the original name: the Murano Mushroom Lamp. This style leans more towards your standard lampshade, but it can still fetch between $200-$500 online.

In the 1970s, renowned architect and designer Verner Pantheon created the Panthella Mushroom Lamp, which infuses its historical predecessor with a flashy upgrade. Pantheon was famous for being one of the first artists to work with plastics. While a Murano might go undetected in the home, a Panthella Mushroom Lamp would be the main event. Today a Pantheon original could fetch upwards of $1,200, like this one here.

These lamps offer a sculptural shape and ambiance, adding distinction to any room in the home. They are associated with calm, order, tranquility; they would not be strangers in a home with salt lamps and essential oil diffusers. It’s impossible to enjoy their aesthetics without acknowledging the shape, and what that evokes.

Images of Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka, and personal memories of walks in nature co-mingle with a groovy atmosphere: an indoor lamp for an outside mind. Placebo or panacea, calm and comfort permeate from these callbacks to a disco past.

Fabulous Fresh Fun-gi

While Mushroom Lamps can’t hurt you, a fondness for them could easily plunder your bank account. On the luxury end, $1,500 for a lamp is not an uncommon figure. But the over saturation of this style ensures there will be a lamp for every budget.

Searches for “mushroom decor†have increased by 230% in the last five years. Etsy, the online marketplace, saw a 370% increase in searches for Mushroom Lamps in 2021. Check out this $14 offering from Amazon which generates an estimated $25,000 a month for the online mogul.

One does not immediately connect fungus with trendy appliances, but these lamps have proven their resilience and made a home for themselves in the design world. They’re an unlikely source of inspiration that has spread faster than the fungus itself, with Elle Decor calling it “design’s hottest trend.†In the past five years, searches for “mushroom decor†have spiked 666%, with tables, wall art, and tapestry emerging as the next embodiments of Mushroom Mania.

High on Your Own Supply

A dual appeal of natural and psychedelic mystery, Mushroom Lamps add a retro twist to any room, with just enough nostalgia to appease Millennials and Get Z. For those weary of a bad trip, a Mushroom Lamp might be the right place to start.

The mushroom is the flower’s naughty cousin: earthy and non-conforming with a predilection for dark places. Refinery29 describes their “undeniably whimsical design†which makes “cramped spaces feel like cozy woodland abodes,†turning even the crankiest homeowners “into enchanted creatures.â€

While one might be quick to suggest the Mushroom Lamp is a fad on its way out, the emergence of other mushroom decor suggests the world isn’t quite ready to say goodbye to this little slice of the past. Colorful and charming pieces with an edge of sophistication, these are not dorm room lava lamps or posters of KISS.

As the Mushroom Lamp consumes the design world, it straddles the delicate balance between bold and risky, brazen and cheesy, chic and child-like.

Can lamps really serve as a placebo for drugs? Can this trend be something more than a nostalgia kick or a garden fad? The benefits of a Mushroom Lamp may forever be subjective, but its inability to be vetted beyond appliance or aesthetics has not diminished its popularity. TikTok brought this nostalgia trip to a new audience. Only time will tell what cheeky artifacts the social media platform will unearth next, but there is no denying the power TikTok has, and the power that it will wield in future.

 

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay.


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Justin McDevitt is a playwright and essayist from New York City. His latest play HAUNT ME had its first public reading at Theater for the New City in September. He is a contributor for RUE MORGUE where he lends a queer eye to horror cinema in his column STAB ME GENTLY.