lightjunction: Kalmar, for the biggest, most demanding feature pieces, and for classic 20th century designs

Kalmar at the Qatar National Convention Centre

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

It is essential that you visit Kalmar's stand at lightjunction, for two reasons.

The first is that they are the people you go to if you are designing/commissioning the largest, most technically demanding feature pieces for important locations.

In an idle moment last year, I analyzed their reference list.

They had worked on projects all over the world. For example, at that point, 110 in the Middle East, 115 in UK, 76 in Japan, 75 in China, 19 in Russia and 11 in Africa. This means that they not only know all the -- often unexpected -- local issues, they also tend to know the individuals who can get things done....

They had completed projects of every major type, including (then) 242 hotels, 50 palaces, residences and embassies, 45 banks, 40 cruise liners, 12 airports and 7 casinos. So, again, whatever your project, they will have worked on similar ones before.

For example, they supplied 700 chandeliers for the restoration of the Kremlin, and truly huge pieces for 13 halls of the Great Hall of the People in Peking. The picture at the top of this post is of the famous dancing Oyster Lights that Kalmar created for the Qatar National Convention Centre. For exhibitions, they are folded up, 16m high under the ceiling. For banquets, when a more intimate mood is required, they can drop  to 2.7m whilst simultaneously opening to a diameter of 5m. Each one contains 13,700 Swarovski crystals and 856 RGB LEDs, which means that they can be programmed to change colour. Find out more, and see the video of the Oyster Lights dancing, here.

The point is: who else would you trust to pull off something so difficult and so important, within budget and on time?

Therefore, do take advantage of Kalmar being in London, at lightjunction, to see amazing pictures of projects that they have done in their new Kalmar Classic Project Book, and also to discuss any specific projects you may have.

The second reason why you should visit Kalmar's stand at lightjunction is that they are creating a new collection, called Kalmar Werkstätten, consisting of beautifully made, classic designs from their 130-year archive.

The  most recent addition is Fliegenbein...

Kalmar Fliegenbein floor light set called because its structure looks a bit like the legs on a fly (well, it does to an Austrian). This structure is very simple: two dark, matt-finished bent metal tubes merge into one that is topped by a natural silk, pleated shade.  The wheat-coloured flex emerges discreetly and unobtrusively from the end of one of the legs. The whole composition looks very light, but it is in fact very strong,

Kalmar Fliegenbein floor light

It is a good example of the main characteristics of this collection: simple, logical designs that don't throw their weight around (making them suitable for many different environments), the perceived quality of which gets better and better the closer you look at the details (which is why you must visit their stand!).

You'll also see floor and table versions of Hase (the "handle" is a neatly wound leather lace)...

Kalmar  Hase floor light
Kalmar Hase table light

...and floor and table versions of Kilo:

Kalmar Kilo floor light
Kalmar Kilo table light

This simple design cleverly has a base that is very small in diameter. It is correspondingly heavy (hence the name of the light -- it is like a kilogramme weight). These lights are therefore ideal for where there may not be much floor or table space, and/or where the light has to be carried about a bit.

As simple, and as beautifully detailed, is the Posthorn pendant light:

Kalmar Posthorn pendant light

Do take the opportunity to visit Kalmar's stand and see these (and the other lights they are bringing) close up, to experience for yourself the materials and the workmanship.

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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Wieshofer: the world's most iconic chandeliers HALF PRICE!!!

Wieshofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier Say the word "chandelier" and this is what people think of -- it does not matter who they are, or how knowledgeable about contemporary crystal they are.

Wieshofer WMT 1 Maria Theresia chandelierChandelier designs have evolved to maximize the impact of light on the finest cut crystal. This type is known as a Maria Theresia, after the chandeliers originally created in 1743 for the coronation of the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresia as Queen of Bohemia (which was -- still is -- after Venice, the most important world centre for glass working). It is the archetypal chandelier.

Wieshofer WMT 1 Maria Theresia chandelier detail

Many chandelier workshops still make them, more or less well. But one company is now particularly associated with the finest: Wieshofer in Vienna.

Indeed, they have recently been making little else. A review of the company's strategy has indicated that it is time for a change of direction. Therefore, until the end of 2013, all their chandeliers will be half price! Here is their announcement:

Wieshofer FinalEdition

This is an amazing, genuinely unrepeatable, opportunity to acquire the very finest chandeliers at a bargain price.

You may think them too sophisticated for many of your clients. But you might be surprised: their effect is so spectacular that their impact is visceral: the heart takes over the the brain.

Wieshofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier body

You may think that they are not "contemporary" enough. But a piece like this is not of any specific period: it should be considered as an example of excellence, of the very finest craftsmanship, as a work of art. As such, it could be put into the most minimal interior.

Some chandeliers are kitchy, some are over-the-top bling, some are unsatisfying agglomerations of glass, and some have been made cheaply in order to extract large sums of money from the gullible. Reassure your client that these Wieshofer chandeliers are none of these. They are in the very best taste, and of the very highest quality. A key reason for their review of the future is that the average age of their craftspeople is now high and they don't know how they will be able to replace them.

Nothing will appeal more strongly to someone who looking for something beautiful, timeless, truly special, so let's look at them in more detail.

They hang from a chain that is fabric covered and ends in a beautiful tassel:

Wieshofer WMT 1 Maria Theresia Chandelier top

The tassel and the fabric are available in a range of colours:

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier tassel and fabric colours

A chandelier needs quite a lot of metal to carry the weight of the crystal. Yet, look at a Wieshofer chandelier and you are hardly aware of its structure. This style has the metal in ribbon-shapes, with ribbons of crystal either side -- a crystal and metal sandwich, with only the thin edge of the ribbon of metal showing:

Wiehofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier arm, cable star

This is why the overwhelming impression they give is of crystal and light, not metal. But Wieshofer's metal is special! These are the options:

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier finishes

There are various designs of chandeliers in various sizes. For example, this one, WMT 3B is just Ø90cm H90cm:

Wieshofer WMT 3B Maria Theresia chandelierwhereas this one, WMT7, is Ø186cm H198cm:

Wieshofer WMT 7 Maria Theresia chandelier

There are also matching wall lights:

Wieshofer WMT wall light to match Maria Theresia chandeliers

Statement pieces like this are so special that we would encourage you to visit the showrooms in Vienna...

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier showroom in Vienna

...where you can see their chandeliers at eye height -- and therefore appreciate their impact and  sheer quality from close up:

Wieshofer Maria Theresia chandelier showroom in Vienna interior

Vienna is key destination for chandelier lovers! Besides fine examples in the various palaces (many of which have been made or restored by Wieshofer), there are also the showrooms of Lobmeyr and Woka there. Kalmar are based in Vienna too, but they don't have showrooms at the moment.

Wieshofer WMT 3 Maria Theresia chandelier top

Go on -- specify something really special -- whilst they are half price! By next year, they will be gone forever....






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Copper: 1516 pendant and wall light by Lobmeyr

Lobmeyr copper pendant light for the 1516 Brewery in Vienna Perhaps it is the nature of the metal that results in the few copper decorative lights being so very good. This one is a case in point. Semiotically, it signifies an industrial pendant but can there be any others made so well, and from such materials?

It is the fascinating result of the Viennese American-style brew pub, 1516 (after which it is named), asking Lobmeyr, the illustrious Viennese chandelier makers, to create something for their interior. You can see a row of them in the 1516 bar here:

1516 Brew pub Vienna

The warmth of the copper is part of what creates the atmosphere in this busy, warm pub -- a haven on a cold, snowy winter's night! It also recalls the copper kettles used in brewing.

Though the shade is made of copper, the upper part is polished brass, and the trimmings (screws &c.) are nickel-plated.

The brass section has small squares cut into it, in homage to the hugely influential designer/architect, Josef Hoffmann (who, with Klimt and Koloman Moser, was a founder of the Vienna Secession and later, again with Kolo Moser, established the Wiener Werkstätte). The Viennese firm, Woka, creates re-editions of Josef Hoffmann's pieces, such as this table light that has the same square cut-outs:

JH7 Josef Hoffmann table light from Woka

There is also a wall version of the 1516 light:

Lobmeyr copper wal light for 1516

I know what you are thinking: It looks exactly the same as the pendant! This is because it fixes to the wall like this:

Lobmeyr schnitt 1516 wall light

It is also smaller, the wall light being Ø22cm H26cm, whereas the pendant is Ø29cm H34cm.

However, it can be customized -- other sizes, other finishes.

We know of no other industrial-style light that is so elegant and so beautifully made. It is also difficult to imagine a design that so effortlessly invokes both Vienna, and brewing, for this Viennese brew pub! As such, 1516 is a stunning testament to what Lobmeyr can do (it is not all chandeliers!)

Go here for other designs by Lobmeyr.

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New early 20th century Viennese re-editions from Woka

Woka Lift tall floor light Die neuzeitliche Wohnung Woka have released another batch of their fabulously well-produced collection of lights from the early 20th Century in Vienna -- designs by Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Kolo Moser, and this stunning floor light that was shown at the Neuzeitliche Wohnung exhibition about modern flats staged in Vienna in 19030/31.

The light can be adjusted up and down as the cable passes through the curved tube at the top...

Woka Lift floor light detail

...the effect of which can be seen in these period pictures:

Woka Lift floor light period images

It comes in polished brass or nickel, is H200cm, W55cm, takes a 60W lamp and costs €3,400.

By the way, this system was obviously appreciated in Vienna at the time, because the Reibe wall light from the Werstätten collection that the 130-year-old firm Kalmar is building from its archive does the same thing:

Kalmar Reibe wall light

But when,  in about 1923, an anonymous designer on the periphery of the Bauhaus wanted to create a floor-standing reading light with the same range of adjustment, they used a different mechanism to create this fabulous machine:

Tecnolumen floor light reading light BH23Woka, Kalmar, Tecnolumen....unintentionally we've got the three most important sources of early 20th century Austro-German designs into one post!


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