Decorating & Design

September 17, 2009

Soup Can Lighting

Campbell's tomato soup

Aside from a few minor changes, Campbell’s tomato soup label looks pretty much as it did when the flavour was introduced in 1897. As the story goes, the famous packaging came about because the company’s treasurer admired the red and white uniforms worn by Cornell University’s football team. Since then, that humble little can has been an inspirational force of its own, most famously as Andy Warhol’s muse.

Andy Warhol's poster

This poster is one of my favourite versions and is available on

soup can lights

More recently, the label sparked German lighting designer Christoph Matthias’ Canned Light. Produced by Ingo Maurer since 2003, its modern-pop cheekiness helped win Belgium café/bookstore Cook & Book accolades from Commerce Design Brussels for its innovative interiors by Delacroix & Friant and Antiques & Design.

The perfect playful hit in a kitchen, the lights — and the label — prove the old adage: that good design is timeless, and that with a little creative thinking, the ordinary can be made extraordinary. Be it a soup can, spools of thread, a pickle jar …

Photo credits:
Campbell’s Soup Can, 1965 (Blue and Purple), Andy Warhol, from
3. Interior of Cook & Book, photography by Anne et Philippe Croquet, from