Industrial designer, silversmith, and teacher Christian Dell was born in 1893 in Offenbach, Germany. While information on Dell is limited, multiple sources note he apprenticed as a silversmith in Hanau prior to studying at the Weimar School of Applied Art. Between 1922 and 1925, Dell served as master of the metal workshop at the Bauhaus in Weimar; he is credited with playing a formative role in shaping the Bauhaus’s metalworking curriculum. During this time, he also designed crafted tableware in copper and silver.
In 1926, after the Weimar Bauhaus closed, Dell was appointed director of the then-new metalwork course at the Frankfurt School of Art, where he remained until 1933—at which time the Nazis dismissed him. While in Frankfurt, in addition to teaching and working as a silversmith, Dell began his career as a lighting designer. Standout designs from this period include the Rondella (1927-28) and Polo Populär (1929) desk lights; both were initially manufactured by the Rondella factory at Oberursel and later by Bünte & Remmler in Frankfurt. Other noteworthy pieces include the Dell-lamp type K (1930) as well as the Kaiser idell range (1930s), the latter of which appeared for the first time in catalogue in 1936 and was produced by the company Gebr. Kaiser & Co in Neheim-Hüsten. (Notably, many of Dell’s lighting designs incorporated his own name into their titles.)
After World War II, Dell manufactured silver goods and opened a jeweler’s shop in Wiesbaden, which operated from 1948 to 1955. He died in Wiesbaden in 1974.