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Modern or midcentury lighting took a new form, literally.  The light became sculptural.  It also emphasized natural materials such as plastic, glass, pottery, wood, and/or paper.  The designs varied, from very angular to soft arches that drifted over the shoulder or over a living area.  

Isamu Noguchi looked to the Japanese lamp for inspiration, allowing light to quietly illuminate areas in an ephemeral way.  I believe his pieces occupy a soft, voluminous space, using natural paper forms with great functionality.  The forms easily stand alone when turned on, yet can drift to the back when turned off.

Modern lighting could be used to light an area or to light a specific area, depending on the need.  Floor lamps became soft, almost statuesque.  Angular lamps could be used to balance the abstract free forms of furniture or art.