Whole Lava Love ....

 What lamp sums up an era more than the lava lamp? The pulsating, globules of wax, seemingly dancing, surrounded and held in a coloured liquid….


The ‘Astro’ lamp, as it was first called, when it was launched in 1963, by the eccentric inventor (and naturist) Edward Craven Walker, was an instant success and hit the zeitgeist of the time and has had enduring popularity since; appearing constantly in lists of iconic design classics, including being listed as number #613 in ‘Phaidons Design Classics’, Craven- Walker was quoted as saying “I think it will always be popular, It’s like the cycle of life, it grows, breaks up, falls down and starts all over again”...


Photo c/o Mathmos.com


The first lamps were developed using household objects such as glass cocktail shakers and squash bottles, until the quintessential Astro shape that we know and love today was developed, this has proved such an enduring classic, that it has not been out of production for over 50 years. It has appeared countless times on TV, in the media and has had famous owners such as Ringo Starr and David Bowie, who had a miniature version in his recording studio.


Photo c/o Mathmos.com


I first became aware of the Lava lamp in the early 90s as a teen, when I saved up my pennies to pay the £54 (I think it was) to light up my bedroom, this coincided with one of the largest regenerations of the company, when, at their peak, sold millions of lamps all over the world. At this time Cresida Granger and David Mulley became involved in the company and it went through a rebranding, to become known as Mathmos; taken from the 60’s iconic film Barbarella staring Jane Fonder. Craven Walker remained a consultant of the company until his death in 2000.


One of the things I adore, not only because of the recognisable design of the lamp, is the fact that during the 50 plus years its been in production, it has been made solely in the United Kingdom, from packaging made locally in Dorset, to glass bottles blown in Yorkshire, to the filling, which is still done (under much secrecy) and despatch from their Head Quarters in Poole. Another amazing fact is that all their lamps are recyclable, with replacement bottles, fittings and bulbs, going right back to the 60s, so you can keep your precious lamp going indefinitely, the perfect sustainable lamp; something that their competitors cannot boast.


Photo c/o Mathmos.com


Mathmos have kindly gifted me, not only a classic Astro, but one of their space projectors. The Astro I’ve chosen is a gorgeous polished copper colour, which reminded me of the original lamps and matches my décor, with a violet liquid and orange wax (they are also available in chrome and black with different liquid and wax colours to personalise your lamp). The company haven’t stopped with the classics and now offer a selection of lamps for the modern and retro interior including wall lamps and even candle powered ones.


Photo c/o 70s House Manchester


Lava Lamp

Way back in the mid 90’s I used to frequent soul and indie clubs, one of which was called ‘The Buzz’ I am still very good friends with the owner and DJ Rob Glover 25 years on (omg is it really that long, I feel incredibly old now). Rob used to try and recreate the feeling of early club nights in the 60s and 70s and used to have AMAZING oil projectors, these lights would spin a rotating, coloured oil disk with a back light and lens and project it onto a wall. They were so hypnotic and ‘trippy’ and you could literally spend hours chilling out watching them (and yes that's me at The Buzz in 1996).

Mathmos have made a version of these early special effects lights for home use called the Space Projector, these are also very useful for sensory tools with children and adults alike. Although you have to use them when it is quite dark to get the intensity and span of the light, they produce an amazing effect, which can be projected on the wall or ceiling, excellent for soirees and chilling out on hot summer evenings whilst listening to Pink Floyd.

Oil Projector


If you are in the market for one of these iconic lamps, or a trippy special effects lamp/sensory tool I would highly recommend Mathmos, they are the inventors and originators of these amazing lights which are often imitated, yet never surpassed…...




#70s #70sinterior #70shousemanchester #lavalamp