lightjunction: CTO's show of strength

CTO Braque table light set

 lightjunction, our new fine lighting event, will be collocated with designjunction at the Sorting Office on New Oxford Street during London Design Week, 18-22 September 2013

CTO's display at lightjunction will include three designs,  launched at Maison et Objet in January, that demonstrate their understanding of trends and of the UK market.

Braque, above, is a table light with a sculptural bronze base that recalls the slender, hand finished bronze work of Alberto Giacometti. Also, with its three offset feet, it could be a Martian that has come to visit, waiting patiently on the console table to be taken out for a walk....

CTO Braque table lightCTO's high standards extend to the silk-covered cable. It is sad how often a good light is let down by shoddy details, such as plastic flex and poor quality switches.

CTO Heron floor light set

Whereas the Heron floor-standing reading light is plain, minimalist. It is in a finish that is both traditional and appropriate for a light fitting of this kind. The result is that there is no interior into which it would not fit.

CTO Heron floor lightThe head can be angled and the switch is on the top of it -- i.e. within easy reach (no having to get up to try to find a blob on the cable on the floor to stomp on).

Let's hear it for good reading lights -- allowing the rest of the room to be in soft, dark shadow, with just the light from the flickering flames of the fire adding movement and warmth.

CTO Harvey rectangular pendant  light

Nowadays, most dining tables have to be rectangular, sadly, rather than round. In lighting terms this implies a row of three pendants or a single rectangular pendant. CTO's Harvey is the latter.

Superficially, it is one of a class of dark brass frames that have clear glass, designed to show off the squirrel cage lamps inside. But, hugely popular as these lamps currently are, they are being phased out.

CTO have anticipated this by replacing the clear glass with a bronze tinted polycarbonate that will warm the light coming from whatever light sources we are allowed to use in the future and, by having a ribbed pattern in the polycarbonate, the profile of the lamp is broken up. So however dreary the State-imposed lamp may be, this pendant light will add interest to it.

CTO Harvey rectangular pendant light


In other words, three practical, well-made, carefully designed, well priced lights.

lightjunction 18 22 September 2013



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lightjunction: Glaze from Innermost

Innermost Glaze pendant light large

 lightjunction, our new fine lighting event, will be collocated with designjunction at the Sorting Office on New Oxford Street during London Design week, 18-22 September 2013

Who has not been eating custard with a copper spoon and been struck by what a great light this combination of colours and textures would make! I know I have. And also, it would appear, Corinna Warm, the designer of Glaze for Innermost.

The large one (Ø33cm H20cm) is above. There is also a small one, Ø14cm H31cm:

Innermost Glaze pendant light small

The colours are ivory and copper, but what really stand out are the super tones and textures. There are still not nearly enough copper lights, given what an attractive warm material it is, and the way it can soften light -- here, it is brushed, to bring out its metal-ness. That contrasts with the smooth, soft, ivory part: if it is not custard, is it luscious thick double cream? Or  paint? Or ceramic?

In fact, it is silicon, that bonds to the copper (and is more permanent than custard....)

Innermost Glaze pendant light both sizes

Here's a group of them:

a group of Innermost's Glaze pendant lights

lightjunction 18 22 September 2013

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lightjunction: trend #2 -- carved and polished dark woods

Channels Finnieston floor and table lights

Lightjunction, our new fine lighting event, will be with collocated with designjunction at the Sorting Office on New Oxford Street during London Design Week, 18-22 September 2013.

In 2012, designers discovered the fun of back-to-basics lights made using untreated pale woods. For previous decades, wood had rarely been used in lighting, other than by specialists like Secto and LZF (except for the pedestals of floor and table base'n'shade lights) .

2013 sees a return to the beauty of finely carved and polished darker woods. Channels is adding lights to their collection of elegantly proportioned and made pieces, using the materials that they use for their furniture -- for example, oak and walnut. You can see above the floor and table task lights the Finnieston collection.

The lack of heat produced by LEDs means that Channels can make not just the structure, but even the shades, out of wood. Here are the Three Wise Men -- three shapes in two sizes, made from solid American white oak or American black walnut, that can be used individually or in groups.

Channels Three Wise men wood pendant lightsOther darker woods are appearing as part of the revival of the great designs of the 20th century.

The illustrious Viennese firm of Kalmar is able to draw upon its own 130 year archive. Here is  the Admont2 from 1930. You can see the beautiful colour of the wood...

Kalmar Admont 2 wood chandelier

...and the close-up below (of an Admont6) gives some idea of the quality of line, of carving, of finishing and of detail:

Kalmar Admont6 wood chandelier detail

The result is warm, rich, comfortable and sophisticated. The wood choices include solid rosewood, wengé and oak, plus there are lacquered versions in satin matt red of black.

Also showing at lightjunction this year, and also from Vienna, Woka include in their collection of early 20th century lights the truly magnificent floor mounted uplighter, Flora, and of about 1930.

Woka Flora brass and wood floorstanding uplighter of 1930

The structure is in stained beech. The version above has brass detailing. There is also a black stained version, with nickel-plated brass, that has an even stronger art déco feel:

Woka Flora floorstanding uplighter of 1930 black and nickel

So the return to solid fine woods is making available again the sense of quality, style and connoisseurship that has been so abjured in recent years.

lightjunction 18 22 September 2013


Channels images courtesy of Philip Vile.

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Sharon Marston's wonderful installation in Clerkenwell heralds an exciting new direction

Sharon Marston Willow Installation - Order of St Johns [This is a repost. A technical glitch removed the previous version.] 

Sharon Marston had a very good stand at the May Design Series out at ExCeL...

stand at May Design Series 2013

...which showed the kind of work for which she is best known -- and which demonstrated yet again that she is the finest artist in the world working with fibre optic filaments.

But, during the same week, she had an installation at the Order of St John, as part of Clerkenwell Design Week, that was completely different.

Willow Installation - Order of St Johns - 2

Instead, of the main structure being cracked fibre optic filaments, with delicate shapes wafting through them, this time Sharon Marston has used willow branches that were woven together at her studio.

There are fibre optic filaments, but they are almost invisible: what they contribute is tiny points of light that animate the installation.

Sharon Marston Willow Installation - Order of St Johns - Detail 2

And what look like real flowers are in fact 5,000 woven brass mesh flowers, all made by hand, also in that busy studio.

Sharon Marston Willow Installation - Order of St Johns - Detail 1

The result was enchanting -- a real sense of rus in urbe -- and, in its echo of a flower-strewn bower made from one of the trees most commonly found in England, a link to an imaginary bucolic past.

The result was also sustainable: the willow grows so easily (if the cricket bat willows by our lake are anything to go by!) that, environmentally, this installation merely kissed the earth...

Sharon Marston Willow installation at the Order of St johns


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Float from Artemide by James Irvine, who died last night

James Irvine -- dezeen Sadly, James Irvine died last night at a hospital in Milan, where he had practised since graduating from the RCA in London in 1984, having gone there initially to act as a design consultant to Olivetti. He moved in the same circles as other design heroes of ours, such as Ettore Sottsass and Michele De Lucchi. He was to work with many of the world's great design-led brands, most recently Thonet and Muji.

There is a brief obituary to him on Dezeen here, that inlcudes this interview filmed in 2010.

Also sadly, for us, he did not create many lights. But he was responible for one of the finest, simple designs -- Float for Artemide.

There is a round ceiling version, Ø565mm H110mm:

Artemide Float soffitto circolare white

and a rectangular ceiling version, L1030mm or 1330mm, W230mm:

Coloured filters can be mounted at the back, in blue...

Artemide Float ceiling light circular blue

...or topaz:

Artemide Float circular ceiling light topaz

Both shapes are available as pendants. The circular version is one of the finest lights in this well-populated  classification -- nothing to be added or taken away:

Artemide Float pendant light by James Irvine

Here's the linear pendant...

Artemide Float rectangular suspension light by James Irvine

The pendant versions can also be fitted with coloured filters:

Artemide Float sospensione lineare james irvine

They have been in the catalogue since 2000. The best way to celebrate James Irvine's life, for those of us who did not know him personally, is to remember, appreciate and specify what he created.


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