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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Robert Sonneman

Robert Sonneman
Robert Sonneman started his career working for well-known lighting retailer George Kovacs in the 1960s. He launched his own lighting company under the Sonneman brand in 1967, selling his lighting in stores such as Bloomingdale's and Macy's. Many of the products introduced in the 60s and 70s have become classics of the modern era. For the next four decades, his award-winning designs have remained in the forefront of the lighting field and sell as well today as they did then.

In 1974, Sonneman founded the Sonneman Design Group, developing products for leading brands, including Lightolier, Sunbeam Appliance, Singer, Stanley Furniture, Brueton, Goody Products, Lifetime Brands and others. In 2003, along with partners David Littman and Sonny Park, he founded Sonneman--A Way of Light.

Since 1967 Sonneman's work has been displayed by the Museum of Modern Art, Chicago Art Institute, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, UCLA Exhibition on Design, Karnette County Art Museum and the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum.

Sonneman has participated and lectured at Stanford University, Pratt School of Architecture, Parsons School of Design, Philadelphia College of Art and UCLA. He was also a contributor on Chrysler and Toyota projects at the Art Center, Pasadena College of Design and served on the Nissan Design Advisory Board. He also served as president and CEO of Ralph Lauren Home Product Development from 1999-2005.


Eyeball floor lamp
Copper panel fixture
Tall table lamps
Brass and chrome pendant
Chrome and white lacquer floor lamp
Globe floor lamp


  1. Thanks for that info. I learned about Sonneman a few months ago while I was researching the lamp my brother trash-picked, which I believe is a Sonneman. It's very similar to the first example except that it has cylindrical canisters instead of the "eyeballs":

  2. @SusieQT: We just got a lamp at an auction that we're pretty certain is the first example. It hasn't arrived yet, so we can't say for sure, but we're excited about it. I'd love to see photos of your brother's lamp.

  3. Follow the link- if you want better photos I will have to take some another time! I don't believe it is marked in any way; is that typical for Sonneman?

  4. @SusieQT: I didn't even see your link! Talk about having too many irons in the fire!

    I don't know whether Sonneman lamps are usually marked or not. This is our first one, and we're not even sure yet that's what it is. We bought it at auction out of state, and we don't have it yet. I'll do an update when it arrives. In the meantime, I plan to write the company and ask some questions.

    I really like the lamp your brother found. Let me know if you find out anything about it.

  5. Dear M2M,
    I picked up a lamp like the one pictured in the link below (except shade is black) at an estate sale a month back. After reading this article, I am now wondering if it is a Sonneman!? Either way I love the lamp. I can't find any signatures, of course, ugh. Please keep us all updated and let me know if you locate a sig on yours. I might have to do a post on my blog about this, how exciting!

  6. @Rachael: I just checked out your blog and am now following it. How exciting that your first post was two weeks ago!I just celebrated my first blogiversary last month, but I still remember exactly how it felt when I first started. I hope you have a great time posting and continue to find super bargains to write about.

  7. Where can I go for replacement parts?

  8. Where can I go for replacement parts?

  9. Good Information. Thank you for sharing and I want to share information about Sonneman Lights offers the very best in bathroom lights, Monolith Sonneman, Table Lamps, ceiling lights, floor lights, modern lighting, wall lights and pendant lights.