Why is Tekna’s Nautic brand such a successful source of lanterns?
There are two main reasons, both seeming so simple, you’d think anybody could do the same. Indeed, several try.
The first is the finish, that they used to call “weathered brass” but which they now, probably more helpfully, call “dark bronze”. This has been the metal finish most sought after by UK-based interior designers for many years. Other manufacturers do it, of course, but none get it as right as Nautic does (except Kevin Reilly).
The second reason is the very simple, well-proportioned designs, typified by Ilford.
The Ilford pendant:
The Ilford Large pendant:
An Ilford wall light:
You can usually see the lamp (bulb) in a lantern. One way of concealing it is to use frosted glass or PMMA, as in this Ilford Wall XL (on which a brand name and/or logo can be added):
(They also do outdoor menu boxes, by the way.)
But most people prefer clear glass. So what does Erik do? Well, several things. One is to hide the lamp away where it can't be seen, as in this Maddox:
LEDs take up much less room, so he is able to conceal them in the top of a lantern. Here, the minimal lines of Ilford perfectly match the contemporary architecture:
It is also possible to fit a battery in the lantern’s structure, so the Nautic collection includes several cordless lights – this one with special-order textured glass:
But Erik knew that something would have to be found that would replace the squirrel cage incandescent lamps that are conventionally used in lanterns, once politicians had banned them. It would have to replicate, as closely as possible, the full spectrum light emitted by something burning, and look beautiful. Four years later, the Caret Lamp was released:
It uses a very slim cold cathode tube and casts a very “warm” light (2300K). Here’s a picture that we took of one lit:
It has a normal E27 cap base and needs no separate driver, so you can retrofit these lamps in many fittings.
The Nautic fixtures which take caret lamps normally ship with them, and so they are included in the price, but do check. Also note that, for the pendant lanterns in particular, there are accessories priced separately that suit different mounting methods. Some of these are necessary, rather than optional. Thus for an Ilford pendant, for hanging, there is a ceiling dome and a tube with a hook and eyelet.
The cold cathode tube enabled some exciting extensions of the Ilford family. In this Pendant XL, the tubes run from top to bottom. At H965mm, a cluster of even just three look amazing down a stairwell:
I think that there is also a third reason why Nautic is so popular with UK studios. Erik may be Belgian, but he is also an anglophile who started Nautic by taking lights that originated in the collections of the venerable London-based marine hardware company Davey & Co, and fettling them so that they could be used in projects where a higher standard is required. There are still Davey designs in the Nautic collection – the iconic mast light for example, here shown in polished brass:
They use the same fitting for house numbers:
It also means that they have a collection of traditional outdoor deck and bulkhead lights &c that look good (and perform well) in a wide variety of locations. For example, on our 450-year-old thatched cottage, we have one of these:
A good, honest light fitting, in which form follows function. The Davey & Co origins also explain the nautical aspects of the collections.
Nautic’s lights work very well indoors too, for which they offer a wider range of great finishes. I’m showing here the full range of finishes, so that you can see they don’t only do weathered brass/dark bronze!
Here are some examples of Nautic being used indoors. This is Maddox again. There is no glare from anywhere on the stairs because the lamp is concealed. It is also protected by the luminaire from being hit when large objects are being carried up and down stairs:
A retail interior, using the Ilford Pendant XL with the “sateen brass” finish:
And here is a way of lighting a bar/restaurant that you would never ever have thought of – industrial fittings with exposed squirrel cage/caret lamps. :) They are using Nautic’s Thorn Pete family:
The Davey connexion gives these fittings an authenticity. It also means Nautic can supply that oxymoron: a spot light for a traditional building (like ours):
So Nautic is an important source of interior and exterior decorative lighting. Erik and Véronique have now sold Tekna, but the company continues as before. Véronique wants to spend time at the beach. Erik is so deeply fascinated by lights and lighting, that I just know he will continue tinkering…