Seven fine "Potences" -- single arm wall lights that extend outwards over 140cm

Luceplan Counterbalance wall light A BIG hit at recent trade shows has been Daniel Rybakken's Counterbalance for Luceplan. The first thing we all wanted to do was play with it. When they were showing early prototypes, we weren't allowed to, but it was instantly the most talked about light on display. Then the day came when we could! Seldom has a light created such an impact. It extends 192cm.

It is of a type generally referred to as a Potence, after the light of that name designed by Jean Prouvé in 1950 and now available from Vitra. This is "over 2m long":

Vitra Jean Prouvé Potence wall light

Charlotte Perriand, who had worked with Le Corbusier for ten years, formed an architectural practice with Jean Prouvé (and Georges Blanchon) in 1940. Later, she produced her version -- the Portence Pivotante which has recently been reissued by Nemo. This one extends 230cm:

nemo potence pivotante-wall-light-charlotte-perriand

 

Then, soon after, in 1951, the German-born, but England-based, Bernard Schottlander invented his wonderful Mantis range. This is the wall light, that extends 153cm. We have DCW Éditions to thank for their reissuing the collection this year.

DCW Éditions Bernard Schottlander mantis wall

 

 

These weren't the first potences, though.

Bernard-Albin Gras patented the principles behind what is now known as la Lampe Gras in 1921. Again, we thank DCW Éditions for rereleasing this design in all its flamboyant (yet practical) variety. #213 is extendable up to 146cms:

La lampe gras 213 wall light red

 

But the potence which has been most commonly specified over the last forty years is the 265 of 1973 by Paolo Rizzatto for Flos. The short part extends 85cm and the long arm is 205cm...

flos 265 wall light

...and when Delightfull issued the wall version of their Diana (which extends 150cm), they adopted the same format:

delightfull diana wall light blue

Whereas all the lights so far have basically been task/reading lights, Anna Lari's Techno is more a pendant light which happens to be hanging from the wall rather than the ceiling. It is telescopic, from 139cm to 193cm:

Anna lari techno wall light

So, a small but very distinguished family of lights -- so distinguished that there are monographs on Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand and la Lampe Gras, available from Amazon, via our online bookshop.

Why do they matter? First, since (for environmental and comfort reasons), lights should not be placed on or in the ceiling, you need an alternative, if you are to get the light source close to what is being lit. In other situations you may not be able to use the ceiling at all.

Secondly, they are very theatrical. Somewhere out there on the interweb there is a great picture of an architect's office or similar with a row of 265s. When I find it, I'll add it to this post. In the meantime, here are two set shots of 265s being used in smaller quantities...

flos 265 wall light set

flos 265 wall light set...and a Diana:

delightfull diana wall light red

 

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