lights for big spaces


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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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


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Custom Aqua Creations in Melbourne


When thinking of a custom installation for a large space, always consider Aqua Creations. Their signature pieces are particularly suited to large spaces -- they understand large spaces. Here is an installation in Valencia, for example:

Aqua Creations in Valencia

Aqua creations Sunsa

They have the creative skills (thanks to the inspiration behind Aqua creations, Ayala Serfaty), they have the design and engineering skills (because they develop all their pieces themselves) and they have the skilled artisans to make bespoke lights (because everything they sell is handmade by their own team). But maybe most importantly, they relish the opportunity to work on bespoke installations (an enthusiasm not demonstrated by all producers...),  so they set about them in the right frame of mind.

Here is a case in point. The location is an office block in Melbourne (321 Exhibition Street). Aqua creations worked with their local partners ECC Lighting + Furniture (in whose Sydney showrooms, many years ago now, we first saw and were knocked out by, Aqua Creations lights).

You see in the image at the top of this post a Standby incorporated into the basket surround.  Here's a clearer image of a Standby:

Aqua Creations Standby pendant light

but a smaller one -- the one in Melbourne is Ø2400mm!

Further along the lobby, Aqua Creations created a square installation for a square basket...

Aqua Creations melbourne  ceiling lights 3

...OK, they're not baskets, but you can see what I mean -- I don't know what else to call them.

Aqua Creations ceiling light Melbourne 2

They look quite small from a distance!

Aqua Creations Melbourne 03



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Venini's Poliedri chandeliers

Venini poliedri chandelier Paolo Scarpa In our post last week about Venetian glass triedri and and quadriedri, we used the term "poliedri" as a generic term to cover them both (and other similar shapes). A poliedro -- polyhedron, or πολύεδρον -- is a three-dimensional solid that has a nonspecific number of  flat faces and straight edges. The dodecahedron that we looked at in the post about Adolf Loos's Knize lantern is a polyhedron.

However, a timely post in the online magazine Murano Glass (to which you should subscribe if you are at all interested in Murano glass or Venice more generally), called Not Only Murano Wine Glasses!, reminds us that Poliedri, with a capital P, has a very specific meaning.

It is used to refer to chandeliers and other lights made by Venini in the '50s and '60s out of a specific hollow glass shape. Here is a close-up picture of some...

Venini poliedri

...and here's a diagram:

Venini poliedri diagram

The two photos above show that they can come in wide variety of colours (this is Venini, after all!), of varying intensity and uniformity. Best of all, though, they can (to a greater extent even than triedri and poliedri) be assembled into the widest range of possible shapes.

The image at the head of this post is of a chandelier, Ø90cm, designed for Venini by Paolo Scarpa. Here's something much bigger! It was designed by Carlo Scarpa for the Veneto region pavilion at the Expo Italia Fair in Turin in 1961:

Venini Carlo Scarpa Padigliione Veneto Expo Italia 61 Turin

And this is even bigger still -- an arrangement of Poliedri for the Hotel Meridien Athens, making good use of colour to emulate clouds -- that could go on for ever (it is actually about 330 sq m):

venini poliedri long

But you can use the Poliedri to make smaller things. A wall light, for example:

Venini Poliedri applique

or perhaps an arrangement like this:

Venini poliedri Hotel Gallia 2007

There are no Poliedri items in Venini's current catalogue of ArtLight. However, their contract division will create something fabulous -- and site-specific -- for you. The arrangement above was done in 2007 for the Hotel Gallia in Milano Marittima (Ravenna).

For inspiration, for a testament to what they can do -- and for great pictures of Murano Glass lights! -- you can find out more about their contract and project work here.

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New to the Light Finder: Licht Im Raum

licht im raum ocular chandeliers in a church Licht Im Raum is one of the most respected companies in our industry. Founded 50 years ago in Düsseldorf as lighting designers, they have also created their own range of luminaires, which are made for them by Dinnerbier Licht in Wuppertal. They are therefore one of the very few companies that operate equally successfully in both the technical and the fine lighting arenas.

Their Ocular series is modular: it can be made up into almost any shape. The main unit is a dimmable light behind a lens which can be precisely controlled:

single Licht im raum ocular pendant light

The result is glare-free direct/indirect light, exactly where it is wanted. There are LED versions.

The picture at the head of this post shows Ocular chandeliers lighting a large religious space, where high levels of even lighting are required by luminaires that must hang unobtrusively from a very high ceiling, whilst being sympathetic to the architecture and the function of the building.

But this is such a versatile light. Here it is being a linear pendant above a reception desk:

licht im raum ocular linear pendant

and as a double linear pendant over a large rectangular boardroom table:

licht im raum double ocular linear pendant

You can put oval ones over oval tables:

licht im raum ocular ellipse chandelier

and make up square ones:

licht im raum Ocular black chandelier square

Here's a round one in polished brass:

licht im raum ocular circular chandlier in polished brass

These images show some of the finishes. Here is a white one:

licht im raum ocular pendant light white

The same lens can be used as an elegant wall light:

licht im raum ocular wall light

The other light we'd like to feature in this post is Stelio. It is as flexible as Ocular but completely different in performance and appearance.

licht im raum stelio chandelier

The module is in the form of a flattened oval with glass rods in it, which can be multiplied...

licht im raum stelio chandelier detail create very elegant, beautiful chandeliers of any size, that look clean from directly above or below, making them suitable for stairwells:

licht im raum Stilio_1185_Messing_2_02_br chandelier

Like Ocular, they are ideally suited to large spaces, here a ballroom...

licht im raum stilio chandeliers -l-ballsaal-merchweiler-02-b

and here another religious space:

licht im raum Stilio_800_Leuchter_2_03_h chandelier

They are perfect in interiors that are elegant, contemporary, art déco or modernist:

licht im raum Stilio_10_1_03_b chandelier

The module has been adapted to create a lovely table light:

stilio table light licht im raum

and here is one of the applique designs...

stilio-wall light licht im raum

...which combine perfectly with chandeliers from the same collection:

stilio-marriott-01-b licht im raum chandelier applique

Now it should be clear why Licht Im Raum is so respected. Do take any opportunity to see the lights for yourself, though, to experience how satisfyingly made and designed they are.

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