Sofie Refer

lightjunction: lots to see at &Tradition -- copper, a new colour, a fine glass light, and Ice

&Tradition BLOWN pendant light

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

Above is Blown, a wonderful new pendant by Samuel Wilkinson for Danish company &Tradition. It is Ø280mm H280mm and comes in two finishes -- sandblasted, and translucent with a silver lustre. Wilkinson (who is also responsible for the design of the Plumen lamp) wanted to explore the reflections, distortions and refraction of light in glass.

The result is a simple, elegant form that is nevertheless complex in detail. To get it right, contemporary CAD techniques are used to control the exact pattern, texture and thee-dimensional shaping of the glass, whilst traditional glass blowing crasftsmanship is used to create each piece.

Good on their own, they are also terrific in groups:

&Tradition Blown glass pendant lights in a group

Other &tradition novelties involve new materials and new colours for existing designs.

We keep banging on about the shortage of copper lights, so we are thrilled that they are bringing out brass versions of three of their designs, Norm's Mass, Utzon's Tivoli and Verner Panton's Flowerpot:

Copper pendant lights from &Tradition Mass and Tivoli are copper finishes, as is usual, but Flowerpot is solid copper, lacquered white on the inside -- such warmth, such authority, such luxury!

The new colour is a matt grey, giving an industrial, urban, concrete look, as can be seen in these Spinning Lights BH1s and BH2s:

&Tradition matt grey Spinning Lights pendants

To understand details like finishes, and the effects of new colours and materials, it is necessary to see the light for yourself. that is why we have created lightjunction to give you the opportunity to do so.

Finally, the designs formerly sold through Refer & Staer are now available through &Tradition. These include Sofie's ever-popular Ice chandeliers:

Sofie Refer Ice Chandelier from &Tradition


lightjunction 18 22 September 2013

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Stockholm: Sofie Refer

Sofie Refer Actually, what we were most pleased to see at the Stockholm Fair was not a light at all, but a radiant-looking Sofie Refer!

In October, we were so concerned that we had heard nothing from her and Jakob that we wrote a post asking if anyone knew what had happened to them. So we were delighted to be able to catch up with Sofie herself.

As we'd suspected, it was a situation that we have seen before and which we advise young designers to beware of. Doing everything -- designing, arranging production, marketing, sales, all the the day-to-day minute-by-minute trivial issues -- is too much for just one or two people to do. At the simplest level, it is just that -- more than a day's work has to be fitted in to every day. But it also means that part of what one is doing is not what one wants to do. Some people want to design, others want to be bookkeepers, very few people have the will or the energy to do both.

So they have very wisely decided to end Refer + Staer. This is right for both of them. What is right for the rest of us is that their designs will soon be available again -- through &Tradition (who already have Sofie's Bulb in their collection). Now, Sofie can design and &Tradition will take care of marketing and sales, production and fulfilment, which is what they are staffed to do.

For we all need Sofie's Ice chandelier:

Sofie Refer Ice Clear 9 detail

In fact, so much do we all need it that I wrote a post last March that inquired into the phenomenon, called Why is Sofie Refer's Ice chandelier so good?

We understand that not only will the Ice chandelier be available from &Tradition, but so will Jakob's Black Fibre pendant:

Black Fibre pendant light

and the clever Array, that was designed by Jesper Kongshaug. Here is a picture of an arrangement of three Arrays, showing how they fit together to make larger compositions:

array pendant lights

We will let you know when these lights become available through &Tradition. They cannot be delivered immediately but, given the lead time on most projects, you can certainly start planning to use them again.

For now, Refer + Staer will remain as a separate manufacturer in the Light Finder on our web site, so that their lights show up when you search. As soon as they have been incorporated in the &Tradition collection, we'll take Refer + Staer down.

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Why is Sofie Refer's Ice chandelier so good?

Why is the Ice chandelier by Sofie Refer for Refer+Staer (the company that she runs with Jacob Staer) so good? Well...

1. The design of the basic component is excellent. The balls are the right size and the detailing of the metal structure is elegant.

2. By producing a gold special edition...

Refer & Staer Ice chandelier gold

...and the Ice Black Star (for which the glass ball is made out of crystal, with a star engraved into it)...

Refer & Staer Ice-Black-Star chandelier

...Ice is also appropriate for projects where a bit more bling (rather than Scandinavian restraint) is required.

3. It is particularly suitable for stairwells:

4. The wide range of ways in which they can be grouped as standard, now that there are six different arrangements with their own top plate, as well as their willingness to create custom arrangements. For example, here at Saks Fifth Avenue:

Refer & Staer Ice in Saks Fifth Avenue NYC

and at Villa Moda, Dubai

Refer & Staer Ice at Villa Moda, Dubai

or the Topaz restaurant in Istanbul:

Refer & Staer Ice Topaz Restaurant, Istanbul

They can be spaced further apart, as here:

Refer & Staer Ice SGP Lux Lightor complement a more edgy interior, as in this installation for Danish Silver:

Refer & Staer Ice Chandelier Danish Silver

5. The prices are very competitive.

6. Both interior designers, and the public, like Ice chandeliers! Maybe because...

7. ...they are easy designs to understand. They have a clarity (which is not easy to achieve) that means people "get it" immediately. As a result, Ice chandeliers work very well at pitches.

They can be hung as individual pendants, of course, and they come in clear, blue and grey:

Refer & Staer Ice Pendants

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