reading light

Milan 2013: Penta -- a sure-footed collection that just get better the closer you look!

PENTA JULIETTE floor and table lights set By the end of one's last day at Euroluce, one is tired and unresponsive. I was lucky therefore that I finished on a high note, being shown the Penta display by the charming and efficient Mariarosa. It was that rare thing -- a stand with no duds!

We'll post separately about two designs, Tic Toc and Glo Mini, later this week.

The first light featured in this post, and shown above, is Juliette by Carlo Colombo. At first glance, it is  a simple, unfussy 21st century design reminiscent of the mid 20th century, the 1930s -- Félix Aublet,  for example. The closer look reveals excellent proportions, neatly patterned electrical cable, and a marble base.

There are three sizes -- a floor-standing light, H1700mm:

PENTA JULIETTE floor light carlo colombo

and two sizes of table light, H550mm and H300mm:


in black nickel, or white or light blue or red. The bases are in white carrara marble or black marquinia marble. The weight of the marble allows the bases to be crisply cut discs, in proportion to the rest of the design.

Klint, by Penta's art director, Umberto Asnago, is an unusual glass table light, in two sizes, Ø300 H300mm, and Ø150mm H280mm:


There are two separately switched LED light sources in the base -- one in the centre and one around the outside, allowing different amounts and intensity of light. The result is a choice of two elegant glass sculptures that also happen to be sources of adjustable ambient light:

PENTA KLINT table lights set

Finally, designed for Penta by Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri of the design studio Something, there is Labo, so called because the inspiration was laboratory glassware (an extremely specialized field, demanding bespoke work of astonishing accuracy, as practised by ASO Glassblowers [01235 834477]  who are next door to our warehouse):

PENTA LABO concept by Something


Like Juliette, there is a floor version, total height 1,490mm:

PENTA LABO floor light

and two sizes of table version, H550mm and H330mm, in clear, blue or smoked glass:

PENTA LABO table lights

That link to specialist glass working is justified because the complex shape of these lights is apparently made with no seams. The result is very pure -- no joints, springs &c.:

PENTA LABO table light floor light detail

Yes, you see the cable going up through the centre to the lamp, but that now becomes an attractive detail. Again, as you look closer, you see that they have thought about the cable -- it is plaited and in a choice of colours, yellow or black.

Penta's collection is very varied -- there is no "typical" Penta light, which is a strength but also a problem at the simple level of remembering what they do. Sadly, they are not on Architonic yet, so they are not in our LIGHT FINDER, meaning that your search results won't show their lights, however relevant they may be. Therefore, it behoves one to get their catalogue down and to go through it periodically. Of course, Cameron Peters Fine Lighting staff will draw lights by this excellent company to your attention whenever they suit your brief.

penta labo drawing



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Stockholm: Talk from Örsjö

Orsjo Talk applique white recessed You think you know a collection....

We were delighted by what we were seeing in Malmstenbutiken in Stockholm last Friday, and were particularly struck by a neat, elegant table light. We asked Jerk about it and he said that it was by Örsjö. Well, we are meant to know about lights, we know the Örsjö collection, and we had spent plenty of time on their stand at the Fair just the day before. But we did not recognize this light -- and one would definitely remember it. So, although we did not contradict Jerk out loud....

He was right, of course. It was Talk, by Marge Architects for Örsjö. There are four versions -- floor, table and wall (recessed and surface-mounted).

The recessed wall version is shown above because this image shows the detail most clearly. There is a metal body, enamelled in matt white or matt black. Both have a smart stitched brown leather ring. Even the light it casts is good, from a 12V halogen lamp.

The table version...

Orsjo Talk table light black

...and the floor version...

Orsjo Talk floor light

...have simple forms that could not be improved upon.

So, what can we learn from this experience? It is that there is never any substitute for seeing a light in the flesh, as it were. We had only seen pictures of Talk, so we had not grasped its quality -- how good it looks and how well made it is.

Here is the surface-mounted wall version:

Orsjo Talk wall light surface mounted


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La lampe Gras: more colours, more formats

Lampe Gras table light 205 blue To their existing colour range, DCW, who are re-editing La Lampe Gras have added two more colours: a blue and a yellow.

Not just any blue or yellow, though! Just as the red is a particular red that is used for the ground underneath gold leaf, the yellow is "...the colour of machine oil" and the blue (see above) is  "...a deep blue, reminiscent of that used in carbon paper."

Here is the full range of colours and finishes at the moment.

Lampe Gras colours

Note that they can sometimes be mixed -- the structure in one colour or finish, and the shade and base in another. See exactly what by downloading  the PDF of the catalogue from here.

The excitement about this classic light, designed in 1921 by Bernard-Albin Gras, is partly based on its functionality. It does what it does, which is to be task light, supremely well. And partly because form follows function: it looks like what it looks like because that is how it needs to be made, not because it was "designed".

The new formats demonstrate this very well. For example, the wall light no. 216:

Lampe Gras wall light 216 set

Lampe Gras wall light 216

and the wall light no. 303:

Lampe Gras wall light 303 set

Lampe Gras wall light 303

Finally, there is a new table light that can be attached either by a clamp, or directly to the table/desk:

Lampe Gras table light 211 311

Lampe Gras table light 211

Lampe Gras table light 211  set

This means that the Lampe Gras collection now comprises:

3 x table lights

2 x "architects' lights -- i.e. these table lights with a long reach that fix to the table -- that are so good they will make the Tolomeo blush, DCW say!

1 x floor light

9 x wall lights, articulated in various ways, and

1 x pendant.

Enough for every possible use -- why would one specify any other light?!

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Marset revive the Funiculí of 1979 by Lluís Porqueras

Marset Funiculi floor light reading light Marset  reintroduced the Funiculí floor-standing task light by Lluís Porqueras at this year's Light+Building. They have been surprised by quite how popular it has proved to be.

We are not, for two reasons.

First, it fits into the most exciting trend of the moment -- the re-edition of great 20th century designs, also being developed by Gubi, FontanaArte, Nemo Cassina, Tecnolumen, Woka...Funiculí was created in 1979.

Secondly, it is wonderful design -- minimal and practical:

Marset funiculi floor light task light black

Minimal? "Lluís Porqueras has always sought an absolute simplicity in his designs, doing away with everything superfluous to leave the essence of the useful, simple object."

Practical? The part that contains the lamp is attached to the main stem by a pair of clips. This means that it can be slid up and down so that the lamp is at the ideal height for whatever you are doing (reading? ironing? tapestry?) and the shade can be rotated through 360° to shine onto the book, the shirt, the tapestry.

For this re-edition, Funiculí was changed a little. The bottom was made a bit bigger and the edge of the rubber sheet across the bottom extends further, making this light very stable. The shade was made larger and more efficient (the original was an off-the-shelf item). This work was overseen by Joan Gaspar, Marset's creative director.

I think that you will enjoy this charming and informative short film of old friends Lluís Porqueras and Joan Gaspar discussing this light, amongst other things.

Marset funiculí floor light reading light beige

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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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