Maison et Objet: Nautic's Caret lamp -- the single most important item there

Nautic Caret Squirrel Cage lamp replacement We stuck our neck out and wrote in our Handy Guide to the show  that "the Caret Squirrel Cage lamp may be the most important object in all of Maison et Objet". We added:

You can usually see the lamp in lanterns. Traditionally, therefore, lamps that are attractive to look at have been used. For Nautic, this has meant the incandescent squirrel cages. Politicians are going to ban squirrel cages. What to do? Erik spent four years researching an alternative. It is now available as the Caret Squirrel Cage lamp that replaces the wire in an incandescent lamp with loops of cold cathode tube. The light it casts is wonderfully warm. It will be the saviour of all existing, and future, lanterns. That is why it is so important. Because, if you don’t use these, what are you going to use?

Those who visited Tekna at the fair (Nautic is one of Tekna's brands) will have immediately understood the excitement, because the entire stand was lit using the Caret lamps!

They produce a good amount of light (350lm) that is wonderfully warm (2300K), and they can be dimmed (with a compatible dimmer).

They are energy-saving (EU Energy group A -- the most energy-efficient) and are rated to last 25,000 hours, so they can be put in locations which are difficult to access.

What is more, they look great. Sometimes an amateur photo is more helpful than a professional image, so here is the Caret lamp (plus Cheryl's hand) photographed in our offices:

Nautic Caret lamp
Nautic Caret lamp close up

So, what's not to like?!

The most obvious use is in lanterns like Nautic's own Fullham:

Nautic Fullham wall lantern

but they are also ideal for the long-running trend in bars for lots of naked light bulbs randomly hung, which will  look fine for as long as incandescent lamps are available, but which will be pants afterwards, unless the Caret is used. CFLis look terrible, as do LED replacement GLS lamps (the classic light bulb shape), plus both cast that clammy, grey light -- hardly festive!

Nautic proved how well the Caret lamp works in such a setting by having lots of them on the stand, hanging from the Thorn Pete retro antique bronze-finished rod and lamp holder that they have introduced for this purpose:

Nautic Thorn Pete pendant

and there is also a Thorn Pete wall light:

Nautic Thorn Pete wall light

The Caret lamp currently only comes in the large squirrel cage format. However, Tekna showed a thrilling cluster of Ilford XL pendants...

Nautic Ilford XL pendant lantern

...staggered as if down a stairwell. These large lanterns (H935mm) now have four continuous thin cold cathode tubes, like the ones in the Caret lamp, running their full length.

But the greatest excitement is for a candle lamp version, which can be used in the world's chandeliers. They are currently being developed for a very distinguished family who have a lot of palaces....

From now on, all Nautic luminaires that would have shipped with an incandescent squirrel cage lamp will now come with a Caret lamp unless the squirrel cage is specified.

The development of the Caret lamp was a massive investment of time and money by Erik Huysmans of Tekna, that took him four years. But now, in the pantheon of great names associated with the electric lamp, Edison...

Edison now joined by Erik:

Erik Huysmans of Nautic


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Niche Moderne custom Phaeton pendant installation in Mexico

There is a fascinating lighting company in New York called Niche Moderne. They have a natural feeling for glass, and they know about glass. They include in their collection Incalmo, that pays homage to Tapio Wirkkala's Bolle for Venini: Niche Moderne Encalmo

Carbon filament, squirrel cage, and other lamps that allow the pattern and glow of metal filament to be married to a beautifully proportioned blown glass bulb, are glorious to behold, and the right clear glass shade will show them off to perfection. Niche Moderne exploit this to the full.

Niche Moderne Crystal_Group_All

Niche Moderne Effervescent_Group_All

Because of the efforts of politicians who are minded to attack the light bulb, in ignorance of the consequences, we have been researching what interesting filament lamps are still available and we'll be posting our findings. There are also difficulties getting 230V versions of linear, single-ended filament lamps.

Niche Moderne Sola 36 Solitaire Grey

We'd like to see versions of these lights all over the world! But, whereas a private client can take the risk of buying a light for which they may not be able to source the lamp, an interior designer can't.

Niche Moderne round-25

Unfortunately, Niche Moderne have not yet engineered international versions their lights, so they can't be used outside north America. Nevertheless, we include them here because the strength of the collection. We will continue to follow them on behalf of lovers of great design and great lights everywhere. And -- who knows -- enough demand from abroad may encourage them to work with UL to get certificates of conformity to international/EU standards!

This business is about real people -- in this case, Mary Welch and Jeremy Pyles. Here's a picture of them in a Hospitality Design article:

Niche Modern in Hospitality Design May-June 2011

and their blog is keeping us up-to-date with the creation of their new studio.

They have a neat video called, in all humility, The Purpose of Lighting:

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Hanging Chandeliers: Practical Considerations


This section covers both large single pendants and arrangements of many pendants. 1. What does the chandelier hang from?

Single pieces tend to hang from a single point, typically a single hook and eye. A chandelier hook is a hook meant to be seen (it will be elegantly finished), that has a hole through which the electricity cable passes. Alternatively, there is a ceiling rose or similar that conceals the hook and the electrical connexion, as for most normal pendants. Note that the chandelier maker does not supply the hook!!! He cannot. He does not know what your ceiling is like, so he does not know what kind of hook would be suitable.

Credit: Wilkinson

top plates

Multiples tend to hang from a top plate. Try to select from the maker's standard topplates: it is cheaper and quicker. The top plate simplifies installation: only one electric cable is needed to supply all the pedants and only one unit needs to be fixed to the ceiling. All the electrical connexions, transformers, even projectors for fibre optic systems, can be safely housed in the top plate.

Credit: Melograno Blu

2. What is the top plate fixed to?

The hook or other attachment in the ceiling is not supplied with the chandelier, because there is no way of telling what the ceiling will be made of - where or what the load bearing part of the building's structure is. Instead, your contractor will work out what is appropriate. So that he can do so, you may need the maker to supply you with the installation instructions when the ceiling is being planned, which may be months before the chandelier is delivered.

Ensure that it is fixed to something that can take the weight of the whole light fitting - allow a good margin for error. Watch out for false ceilings.

Do not hang a top plate under a roof light! Why?

- the heat from the sun can damage the plate itself and the electrical components housed within it

- since most plates are solid, they block out the light from the roof light.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course! If you are suspending something under a roof light, try a lantern:

-- because they hang from a single cable, they can be suspended from the frame of a roof lantern

- they don't need a top plate, so there is nothing to block out daylight,

- their typology is suitable for halls.

3. When should it arrive?

The chandelier should arrive as late as possible. If it arrives before it can be hung up, there is the risk of its being damaged even before it has been unpacked (and the boxes for many can take up a considerable amount of room). On the other hand, put it up too soon, it may be knocked into and it will certainly gather dust.

4. How will we get it into the building and over to where it will go?

You MUST check not only the size of the chandelier, but also the sizes of the boxes in which it comes. Then compare them to the doors that they will have to pass through. Some chandelier crates are heavy enough to make the use of a pallet truck obligatory. If the item is custom, any access limitations can be designed around, but only if the designer has been told about them.

5. How do we put it up?

This is not always straightforward, and needs to be thoroughly thought through before the order is placed. Again, if the makers are doing any design work for you, ensure that they are told enough about the location so that they can design around any constraints.

Scaffolding is usually required, except where the ceiling is very low. This is usually a tower. However, when hanging through stairwells, there may not be enough room for one, so the scaffolding may need to go across the stairs.

The contractors will be using scaffolding anyway, so the best solution is usually to arrange for the chandelier's installation to be the last job done before the scaffolding is removed. When the piece is long - say, multiple pendants hanging from a top plate - the tower is reduced in height, section by section, as the longer pendants are unpacked.

6. What about maintenance?

You must always think about access for relamping and cleaning whatever kind of light you are specifying. Subsequent access for these purposes can be even more difficult than for installing the piece, when everything that will surround the area later (bannisters, furniture, delicate floors) may not yet be in place. There are always solutions but, again, this needs to be thought through before the piece is commissioned.

The property's Planned Maintenance Programme should allow for a cleaning, repairing and relamping session once a year. A scaffolding tower may need to be brought in.

Note that, from an access point of view, relamping a top plate can be more difficult than relamping down the length of the piece.

Crystal must be cleaned at least annually (ideally quarterly) if it to continue to sing.

7. What about mounting it on a winch?

This is not usually necessary. If it is, be prepared to spend quite a lot of money both on the winch itself and on its installation. You MUST go to a specialist: we can advise you who to go to.

8. What lamps should we use?

With relamping taking place annually, the lamps do not have to last longer than one year. Normal incandescent and halogen lamps have no problem achieving this, if you follow the guidelines in our Lamps section. LEDs are occasionally appropriate - it will depend upon the design of the piece. Fibre optic cable can also be effective, but remember that:

-- the light output has to be adequate to make a good effect in daylight

-- the cables are inefficient, so you loose light the longer they are (from the projector, not just from the ceiling) and

-- you still need to locate the projector somewhere where it is dry and can be accessed once a year for relamping.

See also the post on Light Installations Down Stairwells.

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