Why this mushroom lamp has invaded your TikTok feed and living room

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By the end of 2020, the mushroom lamp was everywhere. You can thank the algorithms of TikTok and Instagram for turning our homes into paint by numbers.

“Why do all the apartments look like this now?” A friend did a housing exchange in Montreal and sends me a picture of where she lives. A monstera plant sits in the window and the furniture is mid-century modern teak – combined with the everyday litter, it looks like a scene from all life of a mildly successful bachelor in 2021. Maybe there’s- Does a Marcel Breuer chair or a Togo sofa in the mix, and sometimes the furniture is a replica. It doesn’t matter if the item is genuine, as long as the particular aesthetic has been achieved.

Over the past decade, there have been colors, eras, and even objects that have influenced design simply through our use of social media. During the pandemic, the trend cycle accelerated. Trend forecasters like WGSN couldn’t reference catwalks and street style to make predictions, and retailers were forced to look elsewhere in order to act swiftly and responsively. A Bloomingdale’s executive told the New York Times that “Instagram and TikTok have filled that void, and it’s again changing the dynamics of speed and responsiveness because things have a shorter lifespan.”

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To stay afloat, companies must produce items that are guaranteed to sell. Enter the Vetri Murano Mushroom Lamp, a small glass lamp that emits a soft glow and was originally popularized in the 1970s. Murano glassware takes its name from an island off the coast of Venice, where it was produced of glass since the 13th century. The production style of Murano glass still adheres to the techniques of its ancestors and the items are considered collectibles with a luxury price.

Towards the end of 2020, the mushroom lamp began to proliferate, as did its namesake. He’s been seen everywhere on Instagram and TikTok in the homes of top influencers like Marie von Behrens (1.1 million followers) and Ximena Moral (329,000 followers). According to Etsy’s 2021 Trend Report, mushroom lamp research is up 371% from the same time period in 2020. Now an authentic Murano mushroom lamp could cost you around $ 600 in the resale market, where in a pre-pandemic world it was easy to buy one for less than $ 100. Anna Daliza, buyer of Oggi Home, an Instagram-based household goods store, now owns two, but says that before the pandemic, “I didn’t know a person who cared about owning a glass mushroom lamp from Murano “.

As demand for lamps skyrocketed, big box retailers took notice and created their own versions. Ikea’s Höstfest lamp is made of polypropylene plastic and is battery operated. quality.

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In addition to mushroom lamps, Etsy reports that travertine marble, “wavy, wavy and curved decor” and checkered prints are also in great demand. When I open my Instagram Explore page, it’s almost a guarantee that these items will be on my feed, and often for sale, even though I’ve never expressed an interest in, let alone bought, something like them. “All of these objects are part of standardized models that are then governed by an algorithm,” says Greg Elmer, Ryerson’s professional communications professor, who specializes in new media and surveillance. Once someone downloads something, even if it’s completely original user-generated content, it’s “bundled into like-minded images.” It can be by location, colors or even poses. Elmer believes that algorithms bring together not only objects, aesthetics, and images, but the users themselves. The goal, he says, is to turn them into commodities. “The individual becomes part of the product or becomes part of this datafied media system. “

The more we see these elements and interact with this content, the more algorithms will provide us with. Even among a small subset of people, being surrounded by the same things often makes us wonder, “Why don’t I have any? Demand increases due to the visibility the algorithm offers, but it also creates an aesthetic uniformity that is difficult to shed. “Homogeneity is the direct result of insecurity, brought about by capitalism, and forcing consumers to buy more, buy new and buy the same. When in fact, the smartest way to shop, decorate and enjoy what you have is to be completely unique, ”says Daliza. Often times these online trends can look like paint by numbers resulting in a hollow taste level. The pleasure and spontaneity of developing a personal style becomes more difficult to separate from the noise. The next time you’re drawn to a lamp at a thrift store, do yourself a favor and keep it offline. You will have a lot more fun basking in its light in real life and away from a screen.


This article appears in the September 2021 issue of Maclean’s magazine with the title “Un pour tous”. Subscribe to the monthly print magazine here.


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