Ursa Table Lamp by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016
June 23rd, 2016 by smow

Being principally an office furniture fair NeoCon doesn’t really attract “fringe events” the way home furnishing focussed trade fairs do; office furniture, allegedly, lacking much of the flair, emotion and excitement of its domestic relatives.

In the past however the so-called Guerrilla Truck Show did attempt to provide an alternative, more independent, take on design, than the sanitised corporate vision presented at NeoCon.

Staged during NeoCon week in Chicago’s Fulton Market district the Guerrilla Truck Show, as the name implies, allowed selected Chicago design studios to present their work in the back of a truck, a presentation form we will forever associate with the sadly defunct “Made Out Portugal” collective who used such a presentation form at DMY Berlin 2011, and a presentation form of which we thoroughly approve.

Following 2014’s tenth anniversary edition the Guerrilla Truck Show organisers’ called time on the event; however, for NeoCon 2016 could be persuaded to present a paired down showcase featuring ten design studios in front of the Merchandise Mart Megalith.

And joy of joys they were principally designers. We had feared a lot of felt, a lot of “recycled” bags, a lot of “makers” with their nice-but-lethargic-generic works, a lot of filigree light bulbs posing as design, and a lot of felt. It was however largely designers.

Of which the highlight for us was without question the Ursa light collection by studio McKenzie & Keim.

A freely configurable lamp system Ursa features five connector elements of differing forms and onto which metal rods of a standard and/or custom length are attached and which thus can be shaped into an untold number of forms and configurations. More professional design writers would no doubt refer to the sculptural qualities of the lamps, wax lyrical about the way they reflect natural forms, be that coral, chemicals or galaxies and philosophise over the way the lamps twist and wind through space like their stellar namesake. We’ll mention that the light bulb at the end of each rod is a standard two pin LED, a bulb type readily available and thus easily replaceable.

Obviously, and as with Jason Miller’s ever genial Modo for Roll and Hill and ever decadent Superordinate Antler for Roll and Hill, we do miss a little that the Ursa system isn’t fully modular and reconfigurable, for us that would complete it; that said we were really taken with the reduced character of the variations presented, the lamps on show dominating the space without being arrogant, we really liked the scale of the pieces, the dimensions made sense and created very coherent, logical and accessible objects… and we also liked the fact they are self-produced in Chicago by the designers Taylor McKenzie-Veal and Brendan Keim using local suppliers and local trades.

We imagine you’ll have to live in America, or at least have an American standard electricity supply, in order to be able to use the Ursa lamps. But for us simply knowing that they are out there is enough.

More information can be found at: http://mckenzieandkeim.com/

And, and as we’re sure you’re all aware, Taylor McKenzie-Veal has previously featured in these pages as part of the collective behind the Rhode Island School of Design’s Granoff Sofa project……

Ursa Pendant Lamp by McKenzie & Keim and a chair design by Taylor McKenzie-Veal, as seen at  Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

Ursa Pendant Lamp by McKenzie & Keim, and a chair design by Taylor McKenzie-Veal, as seen at Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

Ursa Table Lamp by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at  Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

Ursa Table Lamp by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

A quadratic Ursa Pendant Lamp by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at  Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

A quadratic Ursa Pendant Lamp by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

Pivot Table Lamp & Ursa Sconces by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at  Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

Pivot Table Lamp & Ursa Sconces by McKenzie & Keim, as seen at Guerrilla Truck Show, NeoCon Chicago 2016

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, NeoCon, Producer, Product, smow blog compact Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

April 6th, 2016 by smow

The question as to what “home” means has never been an easy one to answer, and in our global age of networked, anonymous, communities, our age of refugees and migrant workers, our age of abstract “Homeland Security” agencies, the question has in many ways become even more complicated.

The Lamp Heimat (Homeland) by Berlin based designers Birgit Severin and Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo is an attempt to approach an answer.

Birgit Severin and Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo met while studying at Design Academy Eindhoven, Bielefeld born Birgit studying Contextual Design, Parisian Guillaume Social Design, the pair now share a studio space in Berlin, Heimat Lamp is their first joint project and was realised in context of the Ampelhaus Oranienbaum’s 2015 exhibition “Lost and Found” and on the basis of a brief which asked them to develop a project in the course of a one month residency, and using local materials.

“In Oranienbaum there is a noticeable feeling of emptiness” explains Birgit Severin the background to the project, “something which is intensified by all the abandoned mining facilities in and around the town. And so we started researching the background to why the mining industry died out, what used to happen there, what was happening now, and in the course of this research learnt that the nearby Vockerode power station had been one of the biggest power plants in Germany, until it was forced to close following the fall of the wall. And so you had the coal mining and the power generation which both stopped and that meant large-scale unemployment and led to people leaving the area.”

The Heimat Lamp collection is Birgit Severin and Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo’s attempt to capture that story in objects, to give form to the ghosts of lives past, and for all to develop a sense of home. Of Heimat.

“Fire is both light and warmth but when it’s gone it’s gone, the fire goes and what you’ve burnt vanishes”, explains Guillaume, “and so we thought that given the history of the area fire was a nice symbol and so we decided to work with a burning process and to try to capture the feeling of industry, home, memories.”

To that end Birgit and Guillaume decided to work with primitive kiln firing; essentially a fire was laid in an old well, pre-fired ceramic lamps placed on top and then covered with a mix of wood and wallpaper from abandoned buildings in the area, as well as hay, grass and herbs from neighbouring farms. The kilns were left to burn overnight and in the morning the traces of the locality were burnt into the porcelain.

The result is a series of ceramic lamps which just like Oranienbaum proudly display the scars of their recent history; for Oranienbaum that is the industrial ruins, the feeling of loss and the infrequent bus service to neighbouring, bigger and more important, towns, for the Heimat Lamp it is the scorch marks, the atmosphere of smoky silence and a delicate permanency.

And before anyone accuses us of drowning in pathos, or being too harsh on Oranienbaum, let us not forget that in 1999 it was the sight of wind felled trees in the grounds of Schloss Oranienbaum which inspired Jurgen Bey to realise his deliciously decadent Tree Trunk Bench. While Fabriek van Niek a.k.a. Niek Wagemans transformed the wealth of salvageable raw materials in Oranienbaum into Ampelhauses’ jouyously unpretentious wunderBARR cafe/bar. For all its problems, the town inspires, or, and to paraphrase Thomas Lommée’s recent description of Brussels “its problematic and therefore potentially interesting”

The forms of the various Heimat lamps don’t originate from Birgit and Guillaume, but rather are based on generic lamp forms from the period of Oranienbaum’s economic joys. The original plan had been to use original lamps from the original buildings, a plan thwarted by a combination of scavengers and bureaucracy. Sadly, because a quick look at archive photos gives an idea of what could have been possible, and as Guillaume adds, “even without finding an actual lamp we could possibly have found something else which could have given us an idea, served as an inspiration.”

Obviously a ceramic lamp fired in a hole in the ground has only limited options as a mass market product. But then that’s not the point.
On the one hand the Heimat lamps were created in response to a brief as part of an exhibition and met that brief in a highly poetic and critical fashion.

And on the other the extrapolation scale for such a project is not one in terms of volume but of scope. What one can realise in Oranienbaum can be repeated in other towns, other regions and not necessarily with the same post-industrial story or in the form of a lamp, but in site specific explorations of the local history, and for all with explorations of local associations of home.

Which of course just leaves one question unanswered, neither Guillaume nor Birgit live where they were raised, but where they have chosen, what do they understand by “home”, by “Heimat”

Birgit: If you look at the dictionary definition of Heimat it is the place where you are born, the place where you come from, however when you move away from there, the place where you are currently living becomes more familiar, more relevant to you and then Heimat becomes in a way “a home which is foreign”

Guillaume: I think you have to go away to understand what it means, I don’t think you can say that somewhere is your Heimat, it is always somewhere where you used to be and where you’ve left memories.

More details on the Heimat Lamps, Birgit Severin and Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo can be found at http://birgitseverin.com & http://guillaumeneurinaudo.com

And for all in Milan for Fuorisalone 2016, the Heimat Lamps will be on display as part of the group exhibition “The Journey of Things” at Via Ventura 2, (Ventura Lambrate), 20134 Milano from April 12th – 17th

(All photos © & courtesy Birgit Severin and Guillaume Neu-Rinaudo)

Posted in Designer, Interview, Product Tagged with: , , , , ,

Wind powered street lighting from Vulkan, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016
March 14th, 2016 by smow

As the name implies the Light + Building Trade Fair in Frankfurt is largely about architectural lighting rather than domestic lighting or office lighting; were it largely about the later it would be called “Light  +  Living” or “Light + Working”

It’s called Light + Building.

And as such the biggest stands belong to company’s you will never have never heard of unless you spend your days planning the construction of  hotels, hospitals, shopping centres et al and searching for appropriate lighting solutions. Or design car parks or sport stadiums.

Not that Light + Building Frankfurt is only devoted to technical, contract lighting systems. Contemporary domestic and office lighting are also represented.

In terms of domestic lighting the 2016 edition of Light + Building Frankfurt presented a lot, as in an awful lot, of lamps featuring glass in combination with other, natural, materials, principally wood, concrete or marble, thus, we presume accentuating their inherent warmth and domesticity. It also presented an awful lot, as in an awful lot, of lamps in teardrop shapes or with spun copper lampshades in various forms, ideally a teardrop, but, and very pleasingly, only few light bulbs with “ohhh so filigree” filaments masquerading as a design feature. There were a few, most regrettably on one stand whose collection initially caught our attention, until we realised that each and every one had such an abhorrence in it. And so on we strolled. Life’s hard. And far too hard and far too short to waste on filigree light bulb filaments.

But it wasn’t all bad. Here our High Five! from Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Overlay and Ginkgo by Tim Brauns/ e27 for B.lux

There are two interesting things for us about Basque lighting producer B.lux. The first is that phonetically their name is identical to that of a Swiss producer which is part of global concern much larger than the Basques and who could, presumably, see potential problems in the similarity. And secondly the number of Berlin based designers working for B.lux. We really must investigate the first in more depth, the second we have, and concluded it is related to the density of the networks that flow through the Berlin design community; and as if to underscore the relevance of Berlin to B.lux at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016 they are presenting new objects from the Berlin based designers Werner Aisslinger, Fabien Dumas and Tim Brauns/e27, of which the Tim Brauns works were for us the highlights.

We first saw the Overlay lamp in the e27 atelier last year as an advanced prototype, liked it lot it then and still like it a lot today. Yes, formally it is very reminiscent of Poul Henningsen’s PH lamps, is however inspired by a visit, or possibly visits, to a Berlin flea market, and objects collected there; and unlike Henningsen’s lamps the central feature of Overlay is not the scientifically optimised size and angle of the reflectors but the central glass body over which any number of reflectors can be laid, and relaid, and relaid, “pointing” upwards or downwards as the mood and moment requires. The system that allows this flexibility is so simple, you wouldn’t believe us if you we told you….

Newer is Ginkgo, a hanging lamp based on a ginkgo leaf as if a piece of thread has been woven through the gaps between the leaves and the complete construction hung up to dry. Crafted from aluminium and available in a taller or broader version, Ginkgo is for us an excellent example of Tim Brauns observational approach to design, and an object which is as simple as it is effective and reserved as it is atmospheric.

Overlay table lamp by Tim Brauns/e27 for b.lux,as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Overlay table lamp by Tim Brauns/e27 for b.lux,as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Ginkgo by Tim Brauns/e27, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Ginkgo by Tim Brauns/e27, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Overlay pendant by Tim Brauns/e27 for b.lux,as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Overlay pendant by Tim Brauns/e27 for b.lux,as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Wind powered street lighting from Vulkan,

A beautifully simple idea, beautifully executed at that in something traditionally as unbeautiful as a street lamp.

The idea behind German manufacturer Vulkan’s wind powered street lamp isn’t new, nor is there anything especially new in the components Vulkan have used, new is the way they have been brought together, the thinking behind the concept, and for all, at least according to Vulkan, the electrical system which enables such a compact yet powerful system: without wind a fully charged battery can deliver light for up to ten days. Again according to Vulkan, who we have no reason to doubt, but whose information we cannot verify.

Our question as to if you could also add solar panels to the upper surface of the lamp head and then use solar power when sunny and wind power when windy was greeted with the perfectly reasonable answer that Vulkan are based in northern Germany, they have lots of wind but only little sun….. …. And that at this stage of the project the focus is and was about integrating the wind power system in a meaningful and useful fashion, future developments are open.

What particularly appealed to us with the system was that normally engineers like to use fairly robust, monumental, turbines for such projects, turbines which seem more interested in expressing how important they are rather than just getting down to the production of electricity; a states of affairs which invariably causes problems with locals, and with local planning officers, and thus impedes implementation of an eminently sensible idea. Vulkan’s unassuming, well considered, solution solves a lot of such problems, and thus makes wind powered street lighting a realistic option. Which can only be good news.

And many of you will be way ahead of us here…… What you can place atop a lantern can presumably also be placed in the middle, thus allowing for the powering of lamps along major roads, the draft caused by passing vehicles surely being enough to turn the very light turbines and thus charge the battery.

Wind powered street lighting from Vulkan, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Wind powered street lighting from Vulkan, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Curtain by Arik Levy for Vibia

Although the Italians, possibly amongst others, have been making similarly shaped objects for centuries, there is something very satisfying in Arik Levy’s illuminated partition system Curtain for Catalan manufacturer Vibia. Available in a range of lengths and replacing the Italian’s traditional glass beads with a more robust synthetic “Curtain”, what is particularly interesting for us about Arik Levy’s approach is that on the one hand the combined elements function as partitions, on the other they have an acoustic function and on the rarely attained third hand, allow for a visual styling of a space, the breaking up of a room without dividing it: one object, four functions and those functions applicable across domestic, commercial, hospitality or office situations. And then there is the very pleasing way the light fades as it “climbs”, and thus allows for a nice gentle passage from the room towards the heavens.

Curtain by Arik Levy for Vibia, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Curtain by Arik Levy for Vibia, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Curtain by Arik Levy for Vibia, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Curtain by Arik Levy for Vibia, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Infra-Structure by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos

Contract interior lighting is largely about technical aspects, functionality generally having more to do with questions of future maintenance, upgrading, expanding, running costs and ultimately price, rather than form. As such most contract interior lighting generally looks the same. Not only because it doesn’t have to formally differentiate itself from its competitors, but because most of those who install such believe that as a society we feel more at ease when everywhere things look the same, the Victorian tourist gaze having long since been been transposed to our urban environments: all our city centres look the same, all our faux-industrial coffee shops look the same, all our book covers look the same, all our interior contract lighting looks the same: Form following perceived acceptance, as it were. The modular Infra-Structure by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos struck us as a little more self-confident, a little braver, a little more willing to express a sense of character. And thus a lot more appealing. And that in a very nicely proportioned and formally well thought system which exudes a certain elegance and grace as much as pleasing light. As a modular lighting system Infra-Structure comes with a range of different LED luminaries and thus can be adapted to meet the specific requirements. And then further adapted when and should those requirements change.

Infra-Structure by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Infra-Structure by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Infra-Structure by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Infra-Structure by Vincent Van Duysen for Flos, as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

KUULA by Uli Budde for OLIGO (and Thonet)

Launched by Thonet at IMM 2016 for that part of the lighting market covered by Thonet, KUULA by Uli Budde is being launched-launched by co-producer Oligo at Light + Building 2016 for the Oligo clientèle. Yes, we did know in advance. Yes, there was always a very good chance that it would end up in this list. No, that wasn’t certain. Only probable. And, yes, now it is. Because having visited Light + Building Frankfurt 2016 and viewed what was on display we feel it deserves it’s place…..

KUULA by Uli Budde for OLIGO (& Thonet), as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

KUULA by Uli Budde for OLIGO (& Thonet), as seen at Light + Building Frankfurt 2016

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, Producer, Product Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Rondella Lamp by Christian Dell(rechts), 1930s Advert *Owing to the nature of teh item we don't ahve any photos we can use... google it,you won't be disappointed)
March 10th, 2016 by smow

In his Letter of Reference for Christian Dell on the occasion of his departure from the Kunsthochschule Frankfurt, the school’s Director Fritz Wichert wrote:
“…highly distinguished as college lecturer, silversmith and as an inventor and designer for the lighting industry. His technical ability, his sense for structure and the beauty of materials and his noble, uncluttered forms make him in my opinion the leading figure in this field in Germany.”1

A perfect demonstration of what Fritz Wichert meant can be observed in Christian Dell’s Rondella Lamp from 1926, one of his earliest designs, and a design which, despite being 90 years old, still has a lot to teach contemporary lighting designers. Or could……

Rondella Lamp by Christian Dell(rechts), 1930s Advert *Owing to the nature of the item we don't have any photos we can use... google it,you won't be disappointed)

Rondella Lamp by Christian Dell (right), 1930s Advert (*Owing to the nature of the object we don’t have any photos we can use… Google it, you won’t be disappointed. Honest)

Born in Offenbach am Main in 1893 as the son of a locksmith, Christian Dell initially trained as a silversmith before enrolling in first the Königlichen Zeichenakademie Hanau and subsequently the Großherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule in Weimar where he was a student of Henry van de Velde. Following the first World War and military service Christian Dell briefly ran his own silversmith workshop in Hanau before in 1922 he enrolled in Bauhaus Weimar. Initially concerned with classic silversmith objects, from 1923 onwards Christian Dell was increasingly involved in and with Bauhaus lighting design projects, most notably helping develop the various lamp designs for the 1923 Haus Am Horn project in cooperation with Georg Muche, László Moholy-Nagy and Carl Jacob Jucker. Following the closure of Bauhaus Weimar Christian Dell returned to the River Main and Frankfurt where on February 1st 1926 he took up a position as head of the metal workshop at the Kunsthochschule Frankfurt. A position which was principally concerned with lamp design, and for all developing lamps for serial production.

According to Beate Alice Hofmann Christian Dell’s focus on lamp design work in Frankfurt can be understood against the background of the Kulturpolitik of the then Frankfurt Mayor Ludwig Landmann and the closely associated Neue Frankfurt housing and urban planning projects led by city architect Ernst May.2 Elected in 1924 Ludwig Landmann sought, according to Nicholas Bullock, to “revive the great tradition of the city in the years before 1866 when Frankfurt had been a free city” and to make Frankfurt “an example of what the modern city could offer to the twentieth century, providing fully for the growth of an urban culture which would lead “men of art and science” forward in their search for the spirit of the New Age.”3

A central role in this was to played by Ernst May and Neue Frankfurt as well as by a re-organisation of the teaching at the Frankfurt Kunsthochschule to allow for a greater concentration on the unification of craft and industry; all very “Bauhaus” and indeed following the decision by the authorities in Weimar to cease funding Bauhaus negotiations took place between Walter Groupius and the Kunsthochschule’s Director Fritz Wichert to investigate bringing Bauhaus to Frankfurt.4 That an agreement couldn’t be reached Wichert set about transforming the Frankfurt Kunsthochschule, including the hiring of several former Bauhäusler to fill key positions, and bring a bit of the Bauhaus ethos and experience to Frankfurt; Adolf Meyer for example being installed as head of the architecture department, and Christian Dell of the metal workshop.

That the metal workshop in Frankfurt concentrated principally on lighting can be understood in context of the period. The ever wider availability of mains electricity and rapidly improving light bulb technology opened up new options for domestic, factory and office lighting; new options which neatly complimented and augmented the architectural and interior design philosophies of the day, and the leading protagonists’ aims of developing affordable, durable, healthy environments in which to live and work. The Dane Poul Henningsen, for example, enjoyed pan-European success with his PH lamps while the metal workshop at Bauhaus Dessau was also very active in terms of lighting designs, for all through their cooperations with the Leipzig based manufacturer Kandem, a cooperation in context of which Marianne Brandt, Hin Bredendieck and Heinrich Siegfried Bormann were particularly active. Thus it is little wonder that an institution such as the Kunsthochschule in a city such as late 1920s Frankfurt should also focus on lighting design.

Christian Dell’s first Frankfurt lamp project was the co-called Bürgermeisterlampe, a desk lamp created in 1926 for Oberbürgermeister Landmann. A, thankfully, one off piece the Bürgermeisterlampe is a dangerously art deco affair crafted from metal, silver, glass and enamel; does however formally set the tone for the Rondella lamp from the same year.

Presenting itself, epoch-appropriate, in a reduced, linear guise the Rondella lamp was available in a floor or a table format, the table lamp coming in a “simple” or a “better” version; the former crafted from an aluminium reflector and iron base, the “better” version featuring both in copper.5

The defining feature of the Rondella lamp is the sleeve clamp, the Klemmmuffe, a device which enables the lamp reflector to be effortlessly moved and subsequently fixed in position, or as the industry magazine “Licht und Lampe” noted, “A light nudge up, down or sideways is enough to bring the spotlight-like reflector to where the light is required. Troublesome tightening of screws is avoided thanks to the unique construction of the sleeve clamp which automatically binds fast.”6 Albeit not 100% automatically, a little bit of manual input is required, but minimal and effortless. And we think we can forgive the collegues at Licht und Lampe for getting carried away. Unquestionably a silversmith’s solution to a technical challenge the Klemmmuffe is as unobtrusive as it is functional, as self-evident as it is elegant. And a text book example of the unifying of craft and industry that was at the heart of so much of the philosophy of the modernist era, and of the Kunsthochschule Frankfurt.

For us the genuine joy of the lamp however is that the reflector rotates around the central axis, an astonishingly simple functionality but one that it is very difficult to arrive at. And again for us there is something of the silversmith in the solution, of working with the materials one has without adding anything unnecessary. Or put another way, whereas others were, and still are, developing lamps with technical articulated arm mechanisms, silversmith Dell took what was there and created from it a functional feature.

We are, to be honest, less sure about the shell like, parabolic form of the reflector, but Christian Dell was obviously very impressed and repeated it, if occasionally in lightly adapted form, in most of his subsequent lamp designs.

Following on from the Rondella floor and table lamps Christian Dell created a whole family of Rondellas including the so-called Rondella Polo which featured a ball joint connection between supporting arm and base and which allowed the lamp to be both pitched and swivelled, thus adding a degree more mobility than that found in the Rondella. A later lamp family, the Dell-Lamp Type K produced by Frankfurt based Zimmermann GmbH, combines various elements of the Rondellas in a collection of lamps which may be neat dictionary definitions of functional, but which for us lack the grace and sophistication of the Rondella.

In 1933 Christian Dell and his progressive colleagues were relieved of their teaching duties by the much less progressive NSDAP, whereupon Christian Dell became a freelance designer and among other commissions developed lamps for the manufacturer Gebr. Kaiser & Co. in Neheim-Hüsten; the Kaiser-idell collection proving to be particularly popular, and provides from its ranks the only Christian Dell lamps still in production. The “idell” in “Kaiser-idell” famously standing for “idea Dell”, and he appears to have had a few of them: by his own admission in the course of his career Christian Dell developed some 500 lamp designs.7 Yet for us none, or none we’ve seen thus far, has the grace, character or charm of the Rondella.

Originally produced by Vogel & Co in Niederursel, the production of the Rondella lamps was taken over in 1928 by the newly formed Rondella GmbH, a company in which Christian Dell was a co-owner, before internal differences led to the closing of Rondella GmbH and in 1931 production responsibilities were transferred to Frankfurt based lamp manufacturer Bünte & Remmler. Obviously a very popular, or at least well represented, lamp the Rondella was not only found in the show homes of the Neue Frankfurt estates but also throughout the city administration and in factories and offices throughout the region; Christian Dell even creating an office lighting system for the AOK health insurance company offices in Frankfurt based on his Rondella.8

And then, as invariably is the case with stories concerning 1920s European architecture and design, along come the Nazis…… and today the Rondella Lamp is an object which although regularly to be found in auction house catalogues, is sadly lost to the rest of us.

Dell-Lamp Type K by Christian Dell through Zimmermann GmbH, Frankfurt (Advert in context of the 1930 Leipzig Frühjahrsmesse)

Dell-Lamp Type K by Christian Dell through Zimmermann GmbH, Frankfurt (Advert in context of the 1930 Leipzig Frühjahrsmesse)

1. Beate Alice Hofmann, Christian Dell: Silberschmied und Leuchtengestalter im 20. Jahrhundert, Kulturamt der Stadt Hanau, Hanau, 1996

2. ibid

3. Nicholas Bullock, Modern Design and Municipal Patronage: Frankfurt 1924-1930, Oxford Art Journal, Vol 2, Art and Society, April 1979

4. Klaus Klemp, Design in Frankfurt 1920 – 1990, av edition, Stuttgart, 2014

5. Rondella Advert from 1928 reproduced in Charlotte Fiell, 1000 Lights, Vol 1: 1878 to 1959, Taschen, Köln, 2005.

6.Licht und Lampe. Rundschau für die Beleuchtungs-Industrie und Installation, Nr 2, 23rd January 1930

7. Beate Alice Hofmann, Christian Dell: Silberschmied und Leuchtengestalter im 20. Jahrhundert, Kulturamt der Stadt Hanau, Hanau, 1996

8. ibid

Posted in Bauhaus, Designer, Lost Furniture Design Classics Tagged with: , , , ,

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo, as seen at IMM Cologne
February 5th, 2016 by smow

In the famous Thonet Card Catalogue from 1930/31 the image of the B 9 side table and B 25 lounge chair is augmented by a small lamp atop the B 9.

Whereas the Thonet B 25 and Thonet B 9 are credited to Marcel Breuer, there is no credit for the lamp. But then it isn’t a Thonet lamp. Thonet don’t do lamps. Thonet do tables, chairs, shelving and other furniture. Thonet don’t do lamps.

Or at least didn’t.

In 2010 Thonet released the LUM reading lamp by Ulf Möller as a floor version, adding a desk version in 2015, in April 2015 came the pendant lamp Linon by Andrea Scholz and at IMM Cologne 2016 Thonet officially unveiled the latest addition to the Thonet lighting programme: the table lamp KUULA by Berlin based designer Uli Budde.

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo (Photo: Courtesy Thonet)

For us their is a delightful irony in the fact that Uli Budde is the designer. Not because Uli Budde can’t design lights. He most definitely can. As he has proven with works such as Hazy Day for Marset or Balloon for Vertigo Bird. But because in our recent interview with Uli Budde he told us that, much as he enjoys the challenge and speed of technological change in contemporary lighting design and while he doesn’t want to give up lighting design, he didn’t “want to be considered just as a lighting designer”

It was however this experience as a lighting designer which led to the commission.

“We’ve been in contact with Uli for a three or year years without ever discussing concrete projects”, explains Mirko Nordheim, Head of Product Development at Thonet, “normally when we start working with a designer I prefer to work on a side table, chairs are always judged subjectively, so do I find it comfortable, but with a table it’s all about hard facts, size, weight, price and so you get to know one another and to learn to work together on a more rational basis. With Uli however I like a lot of his existing lighting designs and for all the ideas behind them, and so we decided to ask Uli to consider how a Bauhäusler would design a lamp today, something which could be a functional but also decorative Thonet lamp”

The question was posed at Milan 2014, Uli Budde, somewhat unsurprisingly, found the offer “fantastic” and accepted the challenge, but where does one start when developing a lamp according to such a brief?

“First of all I researched Bauhaus lamps”, explains Uli Budde, “in general one associates Bauhaus with reduction, geometric forms and that was then where I stated. Clearly the first thought one has when one thinks about Bauhaus table lamps is the Wagenfeld Lamp and so that was then also an obvious starting point”

Was there, we venture, not a temptation to ignore what was already there, to avoid as it were the risk of being unduly influenced by existing objects?

“No, on the one hand Bauhaus is sill very relevant today and then on the other Bauhaus is so deeply burnt into our consciousness that ignoring Bauhaus wasn’t an option”, replies Uli Budde, “and so having researched the subject I decided to focus on trying to reduce the Wagenfeld design even further and to bring it more up-to-date through modern technology.”

The result is a lamp which is as reduced formally as it is materially.

Formally KUULA is a lot less ornate, less cluttered, than Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s lamp, much more reminiscent in many ways of Luciano Vistosi’s mushroom-esque Onfale lamp from 1931, if less fragile, less ornamental. This uncluttered feeling is aided and abetted by the decision to do away with both an on/off and a dimmer switch; both functions being combined in and with the cable inlet, thus not only allowing for a more reduced form but also saving on material and production steps. A resource reduction enhanced by the sober aluminium base.

If there is a hint of luxury and of excess about KUULA it is without question the manually sand-blasted, mouth blown glass globe, a true piece of craftsmanship and the defining, visual, element of the lamp. The decision for sand blasting over other, potentially less involved, processes being made to ensure an exact edge between the opaque and clear sectors of the globe and thus highlight the contrast and maximise the effect.

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo, as seen at IMM Cologne

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo, as seen at IMM Cologne

Taking its name from the Finnish word for ball/sphere, KUULA was developed in a cooperation between Thonet and the German lighting manufacturer Oligo – the former being responsible for the formal and aesthetic development the latter for the technical and functional, of which there is much contained within KUULA’s unassuming form.

Aside from the aforementioned combined switch/cable inlet, which as well as contributing to the aesthetic appeal of the lamp is also a very refined and logical functional solution, and thus a further nod to the Bauhaus tradition, the LED light source is located in the foot of the lamp and is precisely focussed by an internal lens so that it that only illuminates the sand-blasted section of the shade, thus guaranteeing a glare free light. In addition KUULA comes in three different light temperatures – homely warm white, warm white or neutral white – thus allowing for a luminescence fitting for any room, be that living room, hallway, bedroom, wherever.

And certainly a very fitting lamp to accompany a B 9 and B 25.

Further details on KUULA, and Uli Budde’s other projects, can be found at: http://ulibudde.com/

On/Off/Dimmer & cable inlet/outlet unified in KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo

On/Off/Dimmer & cable inlet/outlet unified in KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo (Photo: Courtesy Oligo)

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo (Photo: Courtesy Thonet)

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo

KUULA by Uli Budde for Thonet & Oligo (Photo: Courtesy Thonet)

Posted in Designer, Producer, Product, Thonet Tagged with: , , ,

Bratislava Design Week 2014 Transmission Lights Studio deFORM
October 7th, 2014 by smow

At Bratislava Design Week 2014 Jakub Pollág and Václav Mlynář a.k.a. Studio deFORM re-premièred their Transmission light family; “re-premièred” because although initially created in 2012 for Prague based Kavalierglass, since earlier this year the lamp family have been part of the portfolio of another Czech glass manufacturer, Lasvit.

Constructed from a series of concentric glass structures which become ever more elongated as their diameter shrinks, the Transmission lamps present an unmistakable Art Deco aesthetic. A dangerously Art Deco aesthetic, an aesthetic that really should have us running to the hills, cursing the diseased society that bore such a creation…… However, we really quite like the Transmission family.

As with the mirrors created by deFORM for their Passionswege project with Rudolf Scheer & Söhne, the Transmission lamps have a scale and intensity that makes them impossible to ignore. Yet despite this brutal, uncompromising appearance the luminescence generated by the lamps – both the standing and hanging versions – is remarkably subtle, almost understated. Almost as if it isn’t there. Ethereal one could almost add. But certainly very pleasing.

And for us it is this contrast between expectation and result that makes the lamps so interesting.

And while admittedly not a lamp family for every room and every space, in the correct room and space the Transmission lamps are certainly a very interesting option.

Bratislava Design Week 2014 Transmission Lights Studio deFORM

Bratislava Design Week 2014: Transmission lights by Studio deFORM

Bratislava Design Week 2014 Transmission Lights Studio deFORM

Bratislava Design Week 2014: Transmission lights by Studio deFORM

Bratislava Design Week 2014 Transmission Lights Studio deFORM

Bratislava Design Week 2014: Transmission lights by Studio deFORM

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, Product, smow blog compact Tagged with: , , , , ,

Vienna Design Week 2014 Passionswege Big-Game Wiener Silber Manufactur
October 3rd, 2014 by smow

For some 200 years Wiener Silber Manufactur have produced the finest silverware. Exquisite cutlery, table services, coffee pots and sugar bowls designed by both the firm’s own craftsman and also developed in co-operation with external designers: works by leading protagonists of the Wiener Werkstätte such as Josef Hoffmann or Kolo Moser being joined over the decades by designs from and by the likes of Oswald Haerdtl, Otto Prutscher, Gregor Eichinger or Claesson Koivisto Rune. Yet regardless of designer or era, all created with the same attention to the finer details of design and construction. Recent Vienna Design Week Passionswege projects have continued this tradition seeing as they have perfectly proportioned and delicately constructed projects by the likes of Charlotte Talbot or Tomás Alonso.

With their 2014 Passionswege project Lausanne based design studio Big-Game, have put an end to this traditional focus on the finer elements of the silversmith’s craft; yet with a product that exactly because it pushes ideas about what fine silverware is enhances the Wiener Silber Manufactur portfolio much more than it contradicts.

Taking their inspiration from Oswald Haerdtl’s 1952 Martelé Bowl, and for all the way the silversmiths carefully hammer the form, Big-Game have designed a table/desk lamp which despite its delicate handwork provenance presents a very rough and ready industrial charm.

With a lamp shade resembling a well travelled and well used gold panner’s pan the magic of the object is the way it utilises the reflective properties of silver to create a lamp which illuminates via indirect light: an LED shines onto the inner surface of the shade from below, and the light radiates out into the surrounding space. A tilt mechanism allowing the direction of illumination to be changed depending on required mood.

The charm of the design is that it leaves the silver unadulterated, makes use of the material, its properties and its emotional associations without asking it to actively participate in the object. One can enjoy it for the high quality handmade silver bowl it is.

Owing to the nature of the presentation in the immaculately illuminated Wiener Silber Manufactur showroom it is however difficult to judge just how the illumination comes across. How “good” it is. We assume however its good.

Less good is the lamps metal base. We like the contrast, like the industrial aesthetic, like the way it looks like the silver shade has been lazily clipped onto some pre-existing structure: just think it looks a little tooooo clunky, less like a carefully designed feature and more a quick fix. As if the design process hasn’t quite run its course, hasn’t yet found a material and scale it is happy with.

But as ever, what do we know.

And regardless of such considerations the lamp is not only a very good Passionswege project but a fascinating object for which we can see a great deal of potential.

Vienna Design Week 2014 Passionswege Big-Game Wiener Silber Manufactur

Vienna Design Week 2014: Passionswege - Big-Game @ Wiener Silber Manufactur

Vienna Design Week 2014 Passionswege Big-Game Wiener Silber Manufactur

Vienna Design Week 2014: Passionswege - Big-Game @ Wiener Silber Manufactur

Vienna Design Week 2014 Passionswege Big-Game Wiener Silber Manufactur

Vienna Design Week 2014: Passionswege - Big-Game @ Wiener Silber Manufactur

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, Product, Vienna Design Week Tagged with: , , , , ,

Godis by Nestor Campos
May 30th, 2014 by smow

As older readers will be aware one of our all-time favourite products is the table family Tints by Jason Miller.

Although officially inspired by aviator sunglasses what initially attracted us to Tints, and still holds our famously fluctuant attention, is their unmissable reference to candy.

They look like big boiled sweets suspended in a maple frame.

Our fascination with the Tint tables isn’t however the reason for writing about the lamp Godis by Lund University student Nestor Campos. Even if there are several parallels.

Not least the bonbons.

Whereas the candy in the Tint tables only exists in our somewhat imprecise understanding of the world, candies are and were the inspiration for Godis: principally the Swedish tradition of Lördagsgodis  – “Saturday candies” – which decrees that children can only have sweets on a Saturday.

Crafted from Swedish oak and glass from Småland Godis shimmers like a sweetie, its subtle mix of materials, colour and light refracting properties drawing you towards it with all the promise of a succulent, yet strangely sour, apple flavoured treat. The real joy of Godis however is the unobtrusive LED. You see the luminescence. Not the source. Hidden as it is within the wooden base.
As such one can genuinely describe Godis as being as much a room sculpture as a lamp.

On that note Nestor Campos also advocates that you can turn Godis upside down and place keys, loose change and the like on the wooden surface. We wouldn’t. We’d enjoy for the delightful light sculpture it is.

Godis by Nestor Campos

DMY Berlin 2014: Godis by Nestor Campos

Godis by Nestor Campos

DMY Berlin 2014: Godis by Nestor Campos

Posted in Designer, DMY Berlin, Exhibitions and Shows, Product Tagged with: , , , ,

Binic by Ionna Vautrin for Foscarini
December 5th, 2013 by smow

“In a best case scenario, and when the technology is advanced enough, the opaque cover can be replaced by an OLED and so become the light source itself.”1

We admit to having wondered when we saw Ionna Vautrin’s Binic lamp on the “Light for tomorrow” table at the Vitra Design Museum’s Lightopia exhibition.

“Nice lamp”, we thought, “but not exactly revolutionary.”

First upon reading in the catalogue did we understand.

Binic by Ionna Vautrin for Foscarini

Binic by Ionna Vautrin for Foscarini..... the family

Inspired by ships funnels Binic is formally very reminiscent of Vico Magistretti’s 1967 lamp Eclisse for Artemide. It has the same innocence, is just as informal and accessible, yet somehow not so flippant. Its wonderfully proportioned form combines with its matt colours to imbue the product with a little more self-respect and for us, compared to Eclisse Binic exudes a more composed authority.

And the most delightful luminescence.

If we’re honest we don’t know in how far Ionna Vautrin and/or Foscarini genuinely plan to replace the light bulb with an OLED.

Didn’t really want to ask

For, to be honest, in a way we hope they hadn’t considered the possibility until the Vitra Design Museum suggested it. And now plan to.

Aside from the product itself the most important aspect of Binic is Ionna Vautrin’s nationality.


For too long now Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have had it too easy as everyone’s favourite Breton design studio.

A bit of competition will do them good. Stop them creating wooden ducks.

And of course we can’t wait to read the inevitable lazy magazine articles under the headline “Brittany – France’s Creative Coast”

1 Kugler, Jolanthe “Licht für das 21. Jahrhundert” in Lightopia, Vitra Design Museum weil am Rhein 2013


vitra design museum lightopia Light for tomorrow

Binic by Ionna Vautrin for Foscarini... as part of the "Light for tomorrow" section of Lightopia at the Vitra Design Museum


Binic by Ionna Vautrin for Foscarini. …… the video.

Posted in Designer, Foscarini, Producer, Product Tagged with: , , ,

Designers’ Open Spots 2013 Porzellanatelier Biehne Passig
October 26th, 2013 by smow

Although, according to our strict definition of “design” the work of Leipzig ceramicist Claudia Biehne must be considered handwork, we’re delighted Porcelain Studio Biehne & Passig are taking part in the Designers’ Open 2013 Spots.

When we dropped by the studio Stefan Passig asked how we first got to know the studio’s work, and unlike the romance of a casual meeting under an escalator in a former department store, with Studio Biehne & Passig we really can’t recall.

Suspect however it was at Grassimesse.

We are however certain where we last saw the studio’s work: as the Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst Award winning Lumos collection at the Intentional Marianne Brandt Contest.

Not only an aesthetic delight, the charmingly delicate yet robust objects in the Lumos collection are much more a demonstration of the creativity, imagination and for all the understanding of the medium that Claudia Biehne channels to help her find new form languages, new possibilities, new directions for porcelain design.

And a visit to the atelier in the Leipzig Spinnerei complex will reveal many more similar moments.

As with diefabrik, if you do get the chance to visit, we thoroughly recommend you take it.

Porzellanatelier Biehne & Passig can be found at Spinnereistraße 7, 04179 Leipzig or at www.biehne-porzellan.de

Posted in Designer, Designers Open, Producer, Product Tagged with: , , ,

Vitra Cushions
July 29th, 2009 by julius

It’s Dumfries Show on Saturday.

That won’t mean much to the most people, but for us it is a sure sign.

Winter is coming.
We know, we know. Barely have we got use to remembering to take our sunglasses to work, buying ice-creams for lunch or waking up at 5 am because we forgot to shut the curtains – again – than the Dumfries Agricultural Society hold their annual show.
And after the Dumfries show the evenings get shorter with increasing rapidity and before you know it the ground will be brown with dying leaves.

Oh Joy!

And so the time is surely rife to start thinking about lighting for the dark months ahead. Below are a few of our suggestions, in addition to our previous favourites from the spring design shows.


FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

In the first half of 2009 Italian producer Kartell invested a lot of marketing effort into promoting their lighting range, or The Kartellights Collection to give it its correct name. Which is no bad thing. For most Kartell is all about Philippe Starck‘s chairs, Ron Arad’s Bookworm or Philippe Starck’s chairs, and too little attention is given to their lighting collection. One of the true highlights in the collection is FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani. Made in transparent methacrylate, the cover of FL/Y is not perfectly hemispherical but, rather, the cut-off is underneath the height of the diameter allowing it to collect the most light.  In addition, the special transparency of the material combined with the sheen of the colours bring to mind a soap bubble, iridescent with reflections of light. FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell is available in 9 transparent colours and opaque black and white.


Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide

Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide

It takes a brave producer to take what is in essence a table lamp design and scale it up to a floor version. But that is pretty much what the idea behind Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide. At 139 cm high, the intention with Lettura is not a lamp to illuminate a whole room, but much more – and as the name implies – it is a floor standing reading lamp. [Lettura is Italian for reading for all who have not been to Milan] The lighting element itself is embedded in the vertical arm, and is available as either an LED or a fluorescent unit. The vertical arm can be rotated round 360 degrees meaning that you can position it over a desk for working/reading and then – assuming your room is correctly laid out – swing it round to allow you to continue to read in your favourite armchair. With its intense, warm light Talak Lettura not only adds an attractive ambience to a room on account of it’s stylish minimal design, but also through it’s illumination.

Bauhaus Lamp by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Much adored, much copied, only buy originals

WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld from Tecnolumen

WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld from Tecnolumen

Having bought Eileen Gray’s Roquebrune chair to place next to your Eiermann Table you will of course be looking for the perfect lamp to complete your informal study corner at home. The WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld was created by the young designer shortly after his admission to the Bauhaus workshop in Weimar. The result of an assignment given to him by Hungarian designer and Bauhaus Professor László Moholy-Nag, the lamp can in many ways be considred as ther starting point of Wagenfeld’s design career. As with almost all famous designs from the Bauhaus period, the Wagenfeld lamp’s are amongst the most copied of all industrialal designs, and purchasers should be wary of buying cheap replicas where quality craftsmanship has been sacrifice din favour of profit. All Wagenfeld lamps sold by (smow) are, as with all products (smow) sell, officially licensed originals – in the case of the WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld that means from Tecnolumen, Bremen.


Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark for moooi

Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark for moooi

If we start a post with a sentence like “And now a lamp for those looking for a little different”, it can only mean one thing … moooi. On this occasion we’re going to forgo the insane beauty of Horse Lamp by Front and instead recommend Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark. If we’re honest when we first saw pictures of the Clusterlamp we thought it was a joke. A big, fat unfunny Dutch joke.

And then felt a little guilty after seeing it “in real life” as we realised that although it unquestionably posses the inventive genius of a Laurel and Hardy or Helge Schneider, it isn’t funny.

The PR text from moooi talks of it evoking experimentation with ambient expression, and while that may be true, for us the true charm of Clusterlamp is the fact that you only notice it when it’s switched off. We’re not going to pretend it looks particularly attractive, or that it is a lamp for every situation, but with it’s pleasant, inoffensive illumination and radical design Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark is definitely a lamp for …. you know the rest. Clusterlmap is available with a choice of three bulb sets (each set conatining five bulbs). The bulb sets can also be purchased separately for those looking to mix and match.

Vitra Cushions

Cushions from Vitra

Cushions from Vitra.

No they don’t light up, but what’s the point in creating a pleasantly lit environment if you can’t get comfortable with a good cushion or six. Vitra offer two ranges of cushions each covered with fabrics from US producer Maharam. The Maharam collection “Textiles of the 20th Century” is a range of re-issues of some of the most important designs in the Maharam archives. These include such classics as Geometri by Verner Panton, Small Dot Pattern by Charles and Ray Eames or Millerstripe by Alexander Girard. “Repeat” is a series of re-workings of classic designs from the archives of a Swiss mill by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. For the Vitra cushion range three of the designs – stripe, hounds-tooth and dot ring – are available in range of colours. Both ranges offer not only exquisite design to finish off and compliment any interior, but also something soft and friendly to hold when you want to relax of a damp autumn evening after a hard days work. Depending on the design chosen the type of fabric does vary and so please check with (smow) before ordering.

Posted in Designer, Product Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flatline by Jason Brugges for Established and Sons
June 24th, 2009 by julius
Kete by David Turnbridge

Kete by David Turnbridge

The Top 5 Lamps from the smow design spring. In no particular order.

Kete by David Turnbridge. One of the first lamps we saw in Milan, and probably that which left the greatest impression on us. And not merely on account of its size. For us the principle beauty of Kete is the atmosphere it can create in a room with it 7W LED element. And despite their overproprtionality Kete doesn’t domiante the room. Honest.  Kete. Anything but dull.


Beachballs by TOBYhouse at designersblock, Milan

Beachballs by TOBYhouse at designersblock, Milan

Beach Ball Lamps by TOBYhouse. When we first saw Beach Ball Lamps we thought they were made from shaped aluminium. So stable and rigid are they. Only after entering into converstaion with designer Toby Sanders did we discover that they are real beach balls. And that was when the product became magic. That was the moment when we realised and appreciated just what a product we had before us. And that was the moment when we started to investiagte more carefully. Through a specialy developed process TOBYhouse coat the inside of the balls with a thin polyeurethene coat, before cutting the bottom open and rounding the edges. And with it’s brillant white interior Beach Ball Lamps offers an excellent illumination. Beach Balls Lamps. Anything but dull.


Flatline by Jason Brugges for Established and Sons

Flatline by Jason Brugges for Established and Sons

Flatliner by Jason Bruge for Established and Sons. We don’t own an iPod which is probably why we took a  couple of minutes to get the hang of the control system. Had it been based on an MD player we would have got the hang of it much quicker. However, once up and running we were in awe of Jason Bruge’s genial dimming system. And the quality of the illumination generated is every bit as convincing. If you don’t know what were talking about, check out our (smow)tube video. Flatliner. Anything but dull.


Fiss Family by My Own Super Studio

Fiss Family by My Own Super Studio

Fiss Family by myownsuperstudio. DMY in Berlin was full of lamps. We’re not exactly sure why but we’re fairly certain it had something to do with students being set lamp design as part of their final year project. A sort of conspiracy among product and industrial design lecturers to make earth shine more brightly than the sun. Fiss Family by Portugese outfit myownsuperstudio wouldn’t have been much help in such a plot, but was without doubt one of the finest lamp ranges we saw this spring. For us the beauty lies in the fact that the light flows downwards; consequently, they don’t produce the brightest illumination, but that which they do produce is amongst the softest we saw this spring and certainly the best intended for a living room or office when you want a gentle background light or constant, atmospheric illumination. Fiss Family. Anything but dull.


Spin by Tom Dixon

Spin by Tom Dixon

Spin by Tom Dixon. Not a lamp in the popular, modern electrified sense. But then were not sticklers for convention. Correctly used candles can offer a better, more positive illuminaton than their modern cousins. The trick is the “correctly used” part. With Spin Tom Dixon offers a wonderfully stylish opportunity not only to illuminate a space as we want it, but also to change the illumination as and when required. Spin. Anything but dull.

And a special mention goes to moooi for their Horse Lamp.

Posted in Designer, Product, smow design spring Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,