Maison et Objet: Nautic's Caret lamp -- the single most important item there

Nautic Caret Squirrel Cage lamp replacement We stuck our neck out and wrote in our Handy Guide to the show  that "the Caret Squirrel Cage lamp may be the most important object in all of Maison et Objet". We added:

You can usually see the lamp in lanterns. Traditionally, therefore, lamps that are attractive to look at have been used. For Nautic, this has meant the incandescent squirrel cages. Politicians are going to ban squirrel cages. What to do? Erik spent four years researching an alternative. It is now available as the Caret Squirrel Cage lamp that replaces the wire in an incandescent lamp with loops of cold cathode tube. The light it casts is wonderfully warm. It will be the saviour of all existing, and future, lanterns. That is why it is so important. Because, if you don’t use these, what are you going to use?

Those who visited Tekna at the fair (Nautic is one of Tekna's brands) will have immediately understood the excitement, because the entire stand was lit using the Caret lamps!

They produce a good amount of light (350lm) that is wonderfully warm (2300K), and they can be dimmed (with a compatible dimmer).

They are energy-saving (EU Energy group A -- the most energy-efficient) and are rated to last 25,000 hours, so they can be put in locations which are difficult to access.

What is more, they look great. Sometimes an amateur photo is more helpful than a professional image, so here is the Caret lamp (plus Cheryl's hand) photographed in our offices:

Nautic Caret lamp
Nautic Caret lamp close up

So, what's not to like?!

The most obvious use is in lanterns like Nautic's own Fullham:

Nautic Fullham wall lantern

but they are also ideal for the long-running trend in bars for lots of naked light bulbs randomly hung, which will  look fine for as long as incandescent lamps are available, but which will be pants afterwards, unless the Caret is used. CFLis look terrible, as do LED replacement GLS lamps (the classic light bulb shape), plus both cast that clammy, grey light -- hardly festive!

Nautic proved how well the Caret lamp works in such a setting by having lots of them on the stand, hanging from the Thorn Pete retro antique bronze-finished rod and lamp holder that they have introduced for this purpose:

Nautic Thorn Pete pendant

and there is also a Thorn Pete wall light:

Nautic Thorn Pete wall light

The Caret lamp currently only comes in the large squirrel cage format. However, Tekna showed a thrilling cluster of Ilford XL pendants...

Nautic Ilford XL pendant lantern

...staggered as if down a stairwell. These large lanterns (H935mm) now have four continuous thin cold cathode tubes, like the ones in the Caret lamp, running their full length.

But the greatest excitement is for a candle lamp version, which can be used in the world's chandeliers. They are currently being developed for a very distinguished family who have a lot of palaces....

From now on, all Nautic luminaires that would have shipped with an incandescent squirrel cage lamp will now come with a Caret lamp unless the squirrel cage is specified.

The development of the Caret lamp was a massive investment of time and money by Erik Huysmans of Tekna, that took him four years. But now, in the pantheon of great names associated with the electric lamp, Edison...

Edison now joined by Erik:

Erik Huysmans of Nautic


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Coup de Foudre hand made porcelain lighting

Coup de Foudre CFSWD ceramic pendant light One day, the Belgian lighting expert, Tom Claeys of Claeys Verlichting, attended an exhibition and was excited by the work of a ceramic artist that he saw there. He felt that an artist who could make such pieces would also make stunning lights. So he and Goedel Vermandere, with her partner Jan Arickx, pooled their relevant skills and the result is the Belgian lighting company, Coup de Foudre.

Their showrooms/workshop/home is a charming town house in Kortrijk -- home of the excellent biennial Interieur trade fair, of course, but also very Eurostar-friendly for anyone based in London, being just half an hour from Lille International.

There lighting is primarily made out of porcelain -- a wonderful material for this purpose because it adds such warmth. Though hard when it has set, the way the shapes are hand-formed results in a softness, a gentleness -- a cosiness.

And cosiness will become the most important attribute of any light used in domestic surroundings. Why? Because most of the time that we spend indoors is whilst it is dark and, in the winter, cold. Politicians are outlawing incandescent lamps, and many dwellings are now being built with no fireplace (imagine!) so, unless we specify for cosiness, people will live in dank, grey fluorescent light and everybody will be miserable. So cosiness matters! And so we need to be able to specify the porcelain lights of Coup de Foudre!! Anyway...

...this is like a fire when you first come across it...

Coup de Foudre CFLU075 porcelain pendant light

...and fascinating when you then see it close up...

Coup de Foudre CFLU075 porcelain pendant light

...every single piece being made separately, by hand, with the effects of light and shadow adding form and depth.

The setting (below) in which this large version of CFLU finds itself reminds us how well a natural, organic material like porcelain works with other natural materials -- the clay of the bricks, the wood of the beams, the unbleached cloth of the upholstery:

Coup de Foudre CFLUC0110 porcelain pendant light

Yes, it is usually dark when we are indoors, so lights tend to be on. But it is no good if they only look good when lit. The rectangular CFLURE looks great on...

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain rectangular pendant light on

...and it also looks great off:

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain rectangular pendant light of

The adaptability of these strong simple porcelain shapes is shown by how well this design fits into a panelled room...

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain pendant light in a panelled room much as it does into a more contemporary, Asian-inspired space:

Coup de Foudre CFLURE170 porcelain pendant light

We particularly like CFSWD, which you can see at the head of this post, and here:

Coup de Foudre CFSWD165 ceramic rectangular pendant lig

The top part of this rectangular pendant light is quite formal, squares of porcelain being mounted side-by-side to make a frieze. But below them -- out  of them -- hangs a dense array of fabric-like, fluttering sheets.

We also love these carpets of delicate, feminine roses, used in several of the lights in their showroom, including a wonderful small ceiling light:

Roses in porcelain lights by Coup de Fooudre

As with any artist, it means so much more if you get the chance to meet them -- and even to see them work. Well, Kortijk is very accessible. But, in the meantime, do watch the film on their web site here.

They also make wonderful jewellery, using additional materials -- bark, copper, stainless steel -- to recall the natural forms that you might see at the beach. You can see a selection here.



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Elegant and versatile S71 family of lights from Axis71

Axis71 S71 floor light set Axis71 , the boutique lighting collection from Belgium, includes an elegant and very useful design -- the S71.

The largest version is the floor model above, from which you can see that it is a conventional base'n'shade, but with details that raise it above the throng.

Instead of being supported by a thin stem mounted on a base that is large and heavy (for stability) , the structure of S71 tapers outwards into a cone.

The supports for the shade are visible, tapering up towards the section of a larger cone that is the shade.

This arrangement of straight lines, tapering, cones and angles provides a language out of which other light types can be made. There are three sizes of pendant - here are diagrams representing each of the three, plus a larger colour rendering:

Axis 71 S71 pendant light

and a wall version with a shade that is the same size as the smallest pendant:

Axis71 S71 small pendant light and wall light

Then there are two table versions, one that uses the same small shade , and another that uses the middle sized shade:

Axis71 S71 table light

(As you may have guessed by now, the floor light uses the largest pendant shade.)

Here is the small table light being used in Liège's Hotel Neuvice, both on the table/desk and as a bedside light:

Axis71 S71 Hotel Neuvice Liege 1

and, in the same hotel, the wall version being used as a a bedside light:

Axis71 S71 Hotel Neuvice Liege 2

Click here for the flash catalogue, which you can also download. It has a helpful page that clearly shows the full range and how the models relate to each other:

Axis71 S71 all versions

There is also a beautiful walnut version that is exclusive to Roche Bobois.

Oh, and as wheat beer connoisseurs will affirm, Axis71's lights are not the only good thing to come out of Hoegaarden!


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Nora de Rudder's work on show at the Musicalia festival in Ghent

Nora de Rudder Win's table light grey vleugellamp-gris The Musicalia Authentic Festival runs from Sunday 15th July to Sunday 22nd July in the magnificently decorated St Autbertuskapel of the Monasterium PoortAckere in Ghent (which is now a hotel, so you can stay in cloister of this peaceful former convent that dates back to 1278). The festival features the best Belgian jazz, folk, flamenco, classical, world, chanson and avant-garde music.

This year is also features the work of Nora de Rudder -- the "artist who makes lights". We have always presented her that way on the basis that an artist will add extra levels of meaning to what she makes.

In Nora's case, she often does this by using an unexpected material, the identity of which is not immediately apparent, because it is out of context. When the viewer does realize what it is, the meaning of the piece changes.

A very good example is the Wing's Lamp table light, shown at the head of this post (pigeon?), and here, in a white version (dove?):

Nora de Rudder Win's table light grey vleugellamp-gris

A light made from feathers -- well, it's beautiful, but other people do that, the best coming from Mat & Jewski. But, hang on a minute, those are not just feathers, they are the complete wings of a bird. Of a dead bird....

Her best known work is the legendary Mussel Chandelier:

Nora de Rudder mussel chandelier

But maybe my favourite is the Chandelier of Fragments.

Nora de Rudder chandelier of fragments

A chandelier made of glass? So what? Aah, but these are bits of broken glass such as you might find around a bottle bank. Now this most refined of objects -- the crystal chandelier, in a traditional tent and bag form -- is brought into the edgy, threatening world of the urban back street.

Besides the Wing's Lamps, you will able to to see at Musicalia the Meeting wall light:

Ontmoeting meeting wall light Nora de Rudder

an elegant, beautiful piece that suggests that the meeting is beautiful too (not all Nora's pieces have a Jekyll and Hyde effect!).

And, also is the loving mode (like a big, red SHOUT of love!) a Small Flame's Heart:

a small flame's heart wall light Nora de Rudder Vlammetjeshart

A good note to end on! Do explore further the beautiful, surprising and sometimes shocking work of this artist.



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Volière by Challières Paris sparks controversy on Kelly Hoppen's TV show

Those of you fortunate enough to have watched Kelly Hoppen's television programme, shown on British television on 1st November, will not only have seen Mathieu Challières' La Petite Volière, but also how sharply it divides opinion!

La petite Voliere from Challieres ParisWe have seen quite violent reactions against it from professional interior designers, for whom it seemed to violate some fundamental moral law that governs what a light should be. On the other hand, many really love it. In our sales office, where the staff could have any light they want, it was this that they chose -- they found it enchanting.

The birds are beautifully made models. If Kelly Hoppen's client had really wanted to have a chandelier with dead real birds, it takes a very different artist to create a work of art that uses them to create a Jekyll and Hyde frisson -- beautiful one  minute, chillling the next. This is the Belgian Nora de Rudder's The Birds:

The Birds by Nora de Rudder

Le Volière comes in quite a large family now -- a larger pendant

an applique

Voliere by Challieres wall light

and even a table light

Voliere by Challieres table lightIt is part of Mathieu Challières Un Petit Air du Campagne series which also includes Pommes:

Pommes by Challieres

They bring a smile on the rainiest of Monday mornings, like Mathieu himself!

A lighting factlet: the atelier of Challières Paris is next door to Ombre Portée's!

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