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
Print Friendly and PDF

Seven fine "Potences" -- single arm wall lights that extend outwards over 140cm

Luceplan Counterbalance wall light A BIG hit at recent trade shows has been Daniel Rybakken's Counterbalance for Luceplan. The first thing we all wanted to do was play with it. When they were showing early prototypes, we weren't allowed to, but it was instantly the most talked about light on display. Then the day came when we could! Seldom has a light created such an impact. It extends 192cm.

It is of a type generally referred to as a Potence, after the light of that name designed by Jean Prouvé in 1950 and now available from Vitra. This is "over 2m long":

Vitra Jean Prouvé Potence wall light

Charlotte Perriand, who had worked with Le Corbusier for ten years, formed an architectural practice with Jean Prouvé (and Georges Blanchon) in 1940. Later, she produced her version -- the Portence Pivotante which has recently been reissued by Nemo. This one extends 230cm:

nemo potence pivotante-wall-light-charlotte-perriand


Then, soon after, in 1951, the German-born, but England-based, Bernard Schottlander invented his wonderful Mantis range. This is the wall light, that extends 153cm. We have DCW Éditions to thank for their reissuing the collection this year.

DCW Éditions Bernard Schottlander mantis wall



These weren't the first potences, though.

Bernard-Albin Gras patented the principles behind what is now known as la Lampe Gras in 1921. Again, we thank DCW Éditions for rereleasing this design in all its flamboyant (yet practical) variety. #213 is extendable up to 146cms:

La lampe gras 213 wall light red


But the potence which has been most commonly specified over the last forty years is the 265 of 1973 by Paolo Rizzatto for Flos. The short part extends 85cm and the long arm is 205cm...

flos 265 wall light

...and when Delightfull issued the wall version of their Diana (which extends 150cm), they adopted the same format:

delightfull diana wall light blue

Whereas all the lights so far have basically been task/reading lights, Anna Lari's Techno is more a pendant light which happens to be hanging from the wall rather than the ceiling. It is telescopic, from 139cm to 193cm:

Anna lari techno wall light

So, a small but very distinguished family of lights -- so distinguished that there are monographs on Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand and la Lampe Gras, available from Amazon, via our online bookshop.

Why do they matter? First, since (for environmental and comfort reasons), lights should not be placed on or in the ceiling, you need an alternative, if you are to get the light source close to what is being lit. In other situations you may not be able to use the ceiling at all.

Secondly, they are very theatrical. Somewhere out there on the interweb there is a great picture of an architect's office or similar with a row of 265s. When I find it, I'll add it to this post. In the meantime, here are two set shots of 265s being used in smaller quantities...

flos 265 wall light set

flos 265 wall light set...and a Diana:

delightfull diana wall light red


Print Friendly and PDF

Milan 2013: Penta's Tic Toc -- two outsize designs and 528 options!


...and there you have it -- two great designs with four shade options (two round and two square).

The glass bases come in six colours...

penta tic toc glass colour options

...and the four shade options come in a choice of five colours of linen and six colours of silk...

penta tic toc shade fabric options

...which I make to be 528 easy-to-understand alternatives.

The result is a wide choice of large, elegant, forthright, lights from Penta.

They are great in themselves, yet they are also particularly useful for contract. The range of options means not only that you are more likely to find a standard combination that suits your interior, but also you can have several lights from the same family, all of them  in different shapes and colours.

Coloured glass shapes in such large sizes are difficult to make, which means that outsize coloured glass lights like this are rare, and really make a statement (more or less of one, depending upon the colours you choose). Here are the dimensions:

Penta tic toc floor light table light dimensions

So they can be lowish floor lights or largish table lights.

They are a development on from Penta's really useful line of table lights, New Classics, the Bon Ton...

penta new classic bon ton table lights

...the Desir...

Penta NEW CLASSIC Desir table light

...and the Pascia...

Penta NEW CLASSIC Pascia table light

...for which there are three possible shade shapes. The tallest combination of base and shade is H100cm.

Penta also do a range of floor-standing New Classics:

Penta New Classic Terra floor lights


Print Friendly and PDF

FT How To Spend It: big lights in the dining room

FT How to Spend It cover 09 12 Very few people write properly researched, in depth articles about decorative lighting. When they do, and when a link is available, we share the article with you via a post like this one. (Otherwise, the only voice you hear is mine....)

In the latest Financial Times How To Spend It magazine, Jenny Dalton (one of the best feature writers in our field) has highlighted one of the ways that wow factor lights can be best used: as big features over dining tables. She's used examples from some of our favourite suppliers, some of which have also been featured in recent posts of ours: LZF, Atelier Areti, Willowlamp and Il Pezzo Mancante, the long version of whose chandelier (Il Pezzo Mancante 3) was also used on the cover -- as you can see above. Plus Ochre and the artist Sharon Marston  -- great choices! 

A decorative light on the front of an English consumer magazine! Imagine how delighted we were -- what a Sunday that was!

Anyway, to read the fully illustrated article, click here.

Print Friendly and PDF

Venetia Studium at Decorex

Fortuny Studio 1907 white Well, first Gubi bring out a white version of Greta Grossman's Grasshopper ( see here) and now Venetia Studium have brought out a white version of Fortuny's magnificent large flood light. They will be showing it on their stand (D142) at Decorex. We detect a trend here!

Some objects can be pretty well understood from pictures, but to "get" others, one has to experience them for oneself. This Fortuny design is a case in point. So, at Decorex, check out the quality of the detailing:

Venetia Studium Fortuny 1907 detail 1

Venetia Studium Fortuny 1907 detail 2

But first, you'll be struck by the size. Functionally, Fortuny designed these floodlights to create a large field of shadowless light (which they do). But the pieces themselves are a statement in their own right -- a wonderful sculpture...

Venetia Studium Fortuny 1907 gold...which some people reverse, to get the effect of the back of them (they still cast useful light reflected off the wall that they are now facing):

Venetia Studium Fortuny 1907 backYou can also get this floodlight on wheels now, which is easier to move around:

DF60ST Fortuny by Venetia Studium

Fortuny created several floodlights along these lines and another version is made by Pallucco. This is not a case of one company ripping the other off: both are licensed to produce it. Venetia Studium was created to re-edit Fortuny designs, the silk versions of which are ripped off -- and badly.

You can download the latest version of the brochure for the Fortuny "Studio 1907" here., and of their silk collection here.

Venetia Studium Fortuny Cesendello silk pendant light



Print Friendly and PDF