Copper: Sven Ivar Dysthe's Butterfly from Northern Lighting

Northern Lighting Butterfly wall light  copper In 1964, Sven Ivar Dysthe designed a wall light called Butterfly. Arguably the leading figure in contemporary Norwegian design, he is respected for "...his ability to find simple solutions to complex challenges with decisive elegance". (A bit like me, really.)  Butterfly is an excellent example of this:

Sven Ivar Dysthe Butterfly wall light

It was originally made by Høvik Lys, and later by Arnold Vik, Norway. Northern Lighting relaunched the design in 2008.

They have now produced a version in copper which is heat treated, so each one will have a unique surface colour and material structure. Added to which, oxidization will further change their appearance, making each one more more individual -- almost a living thing:

Northern Lighting Butterfly wall light copper close up

Northern Lighting describe Butterfly well:

Its uniqueness lies in the combination of its simplicity of form and well-preserved indirect manner of emanating light, creating a bright, yet warm atmosphere...

especially in copper!

It is W20cm H21cm D10cm, so it small.

Northern Lighting Butterfly applique

Sven I Dysthe wrote:

“Butterfly”, a shining philosophy around white wings Woven into a connecting body,

a brightness that melts into the eye

glittering without glitter Flying without flight Living without life Just as plain and simple as that

Simple simplicity.

Like real butterflies, one is good, but more are better:

Northern Lighting Butterfly wall lights office


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Stockholm: Norwegian Forest from Northern Lighting

Northern Lighting norwegian forest birch large pendant Cathrine Kullberg has designed Norwegian Forest for Northern Lighting. There are two finishes, natural birch (above) or white-stained ash...

northern lighting norwegian forest large pendant light white ash

...both having an inner layer of white paper fleece.

There are two sizes -- Ø55cm H40cm (above) and Ø32cm H32cm...

norwegian forest small pendant light kids supper

The small pendant also comes mounted on little feet to make a table light. Here is the full range:

Northeren Lighting Norwegian-Forest-All

So much for the facts. This post was planned to be about the Norwegian company, Northern Lighting, and their use of wood. I was going to base it on Plank...

Northern Lighting Plank

...the most uncompromisingly woody wooden light ever devised: two rough planks of wood with LEDs between them -- a great idea, satisfyingly interpreted.

But it is Norwegian Forest that sticks in the mind. This design is not just made of wood, but the pattern cut into it is of trees -- in fact, of a forest environment comprising not just the trees, but two wolves and a soaring bird:

Norwegian Forest design

Look how beautiful these lights are when turned on...

Northern Lighting norwegian forest small pendant light

...with the warmth of the wood and the changes of light -- brightness and shadows -- around the cut-out forms. Trees are big, trees are strong, trees are long-lived, but this is a very delicate piece -- about trees. Trees also provide warmth and a home if you are Norwegian.

At first glance you might dismiss this light as some kind of airport souvenir. I hope that you have now seen enough to take it seriously. It certainly has serious credentials. It is made by Northern Lighting, one of the best, most innovative lighting companies around. Cathrine Kullberg (also Norwegian), who designed it...

Cathrine Kullberg

...has a masters in design from Central Saint Martins and subsequently worked in Thomas Heatherwick's studio as a designer and project manager.

It certainly stands up for itself -- and complements -- non-kitsch environments:

northern lighting norwegian forest small pendant set

Now, our long-held desire has been to see see a light designed by Thomas Heatherwick. Do we have the necessary components here to make that happen...? By the way, the recent monograph about him is available through our on-line Amazon bookshop, in the section "Referred to in Fine Lighting News".

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Stockholm's Furniture Fair and Northern Light Fair

Stockholm fair logos

The Stockholm Furniture Fair runs from the the 5th to the 9th February. It includes the Northern Light Fair.

This is very timely because there was a very real sense amongst the experts who were in Paris for Maison et Objet last month that the Japanese and Scandinavian stands were looking the sharpest.

Added to which, as a result of watching double bills of The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen on Saturday nights, Britons have never been more aware of Scandinavian culture -- or of Scandinavia, full stop. Those wonderful lights in the interiors in Borgen! Somehow one does not expect such design-awareness in 10 Downing Street....

The Japanese were showing very little lighting but there was plenty from Scandinavian makers. We are looking forward to being able to spend more times on their stands this week in Stockholm.

What are the Scandinavians doing that is so right? It is not really a common æsthetic (as it was in the 1960s) -- it would be difficult to imagine a more diverse, more eclectic collection of lights. Nor is there any magic. No, it is the basics that anyone could do (designers. materials, prices), underpinned by the makers' sensitivity to light and design, that is shared by enough of the populace to provide them with a market.

Design: they have strength in depth. Besides great designers from the past (Arne Jacobsen, Jørn Utzon), they are drawing on an amazing roster of contemporary designers -- Front (bsweden), Claesson Koivisto Rune (Örsjö, Muuto), Cecilie Manz (Muuto, and the incredibly successful Caravaggio -- for which a new wall light is being launched -- for Lightyears), plus Form us With Love (Muuto) and Louise Campbell (Muuto and Louis Poulsen, who are not exhibiting). Wästberg's business model is based on commissioning from famous designers.

Materials: wonderful use of glass, as one would expect (especially Muuto, bsweden) but also fabrics, acrylic, wood, marble, felt, even egg box material (from &Tradition)...

Prices: fair.

Here is an alphabetical list of who is exhibiting and where. (It is our selection but it may not be based on a complete list: omissions do not therefore necessarily indicate our disapproval!) Click on their names to go to their web sites.

&Tradition    A04 25

Artek    A35 10

bsweden    A09 20

Le Klint    A15 2

Lightyears    A31 41

Muuto    A04 41

Northern Lighting    A07 28

Örsjö    A07 21

Secto    A04 39

Valoa by Aurora A01 22 (who we don't know -- the Finnish/Canadian designer Aurora Nieminen only started the company a few months ago -- but we like the look of her colourful felt pendants. Please see the image at the foot of this post.)

Wästberg A12 20

Zero A09 14

There will be some brands showing in Stockholm, rather than at the fair:

Gubi will be at AB Evert Lindelöf at Hornsgatan 29 in Södermalm.

Non-Scandinavian exhibitors include:

Brunklaus A23 11 Delightfull B06 11 Innermost A09 01 La Murrina B02 19 Luceplan A04 10 LZF A09 45 Moooi A07 30 Tom Dixon A18 30

Outside the fair,

Foscarini  will be creating "Magic Windows" at 38C Rosenlundsgatan.

The Noa pendants from Valoa by Aurora:

Noa pendant lights from Valoa by Aurora

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Pia glass pendant by Sara Gressberg

Pia by Sara Gressberg.01 A glass pendant. There is no shortage of these. So what is special about this one? It is the milky softness of the semi-translucent glass, that was inspired by the quality of light in the nordic region.

Let Sara Gressberg, who designed it, explain in her own words:

"The inspiration came to me from a frosted window, that was beginning to melt from the morning sun.

"The Nordic light is unique, winters can be dark and gloomy, yet incredibly beautiful and delicate when the light first breaks through. Because of our high latitude, which gives us low solar paths, the Nordic light has a very diffuse transition from dark to light. In Pia, I have tried to capture the beautiful delicate Nordic light so that the memory of the beauty of light never is far away when it is at its darkest."

So this simple, elegantly shaped light is full of meaning, of memory.

Normally, metal or plastic would be used for the structure. But Sara has used cork -- a softer, more organic material, and an ideal match for this glass.

Pia by Sara Gressberg.02

She is currently studying for her Masters in product Design at Oslo and Akerhus University College.

Sara GressbergThere is a sensitivity to mood and material demonstrated by this piece which suggests that hers will be a career to watch! This is inconsistent with the use of a CFLi, of course, but maybe it was necessary to employ one for political reasons.

This is what Pia looks like on;

Pia by Sara Pressberg set

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Counterbalance by Daniel Rybakken for Luceplan

Counterbalance Luceplan Daniel Rybakken Exciting things are happening at Luceplan, and this is an exciting light that they showed in Milan and Frankfurt. So exciting is it that everyone who saw it wanted to have a go at moving it -- in Frankfurt, at least, they had to put a sign up asking people not to (it was a prototype).

There is no magic about it -- it is merely the appliance of basic mechanical knowledge. But it looks gravity-defying. As a result, it needs no guy rope to take the weight, nor a large wall plate. Everything is clean and minimal.

The arm carrying the light can be moved up and down, with a smooth, fluid motion. It stays where you put it because the disc above it acts as a counterweight. Here it is with the light almost at floor level (useful when someone loses a contact lens...) to show that it will hold any position, even at the extreme ends of its travel:

Counterbalance Luceplan 2 daniel rybakken

It was designed for them by the Norwegian Daniel Rybbaken , and is the latest in a recent trend of long-armed (this one is 190cm) wall lights, that actually dates back at least to Jean Prouvé in 1950 (Potence for Vitra) via Paolo Rizzatto's 265 for Flos in 1973.

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